Go ahead. Accuse me of being a serial semanticist. (I’ve been called a lot worse).
But I’m here to tell you what’s wrong with the World Golf Hall of Fame. Actually there’s a long list of things that need to be fixed at the WGHOF. And to be fair, the guy that runs the place, Jack Peter, hasn’t been given many tools with which to work.
But here’s the biggest problem:
If the World Golf Hall of Fame is going to continue to admit players like Mark O’Meara and David Graham, both of whom were announced last week among a group of the next four inductees, it needs to change its name.
Nothing against Graham or O’Meara, both of whom bring plenty of credentials to golf’s table of distinction. O’Meara especially with two majors and a Player of the Year honor in 1998 while in his 40s (and during Tiger Woods’ prime).
But outside of the insular world of golf, neither Graham or O’Meara are “famous.”
Change the name of the World Golf Hall of Fame to the World Golf Hall of Achievement and I’m all in with the selections of David Graham and Mark O’ Meara. And, in the future, Jim Furyk.
But if the mahouts are going to insist on continuing to call it a Hall of Fame, I’m going to insist that the criteria include a sometimes tricky to define but important “fame” variable in the qualifications equation.
It’s tricky because John Daly is “famous” but doesn’t belong in any important “Hall” other than a Hall of Shame.
Golf got itself into this mess by following the lead of baseball, football and basketball – the three major sports in the U.S. that don’t have to concern themselves so much about the “fame” factor. These sports are much more widely followed by the general population.
Golf doesn’t have that luxury.
Congrats to O’Meara and Graham. You guys were terrific. But you weren’t great. And you weren’t famous.
If there was a Hall of Achievement, you would belong.
But if the World Golf Hall of Hall of fame was true to its name, you’d have to pay your way in just like the rest of us chops.