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  • Alistair Tait

Golf Hall of Fame continues credibility slide

Visitors to next year’s World Golf Hall of Fame won’t be able to see mementos of Padraig Harrington’s three major victories. Never mind, Tim Finchem’s pen should more than compensate.

Former PGA Tour boss Finchem will take his place in the Hall of Fame next year, the class of ’21, alongside Tiger Woods and Marion Hollins. A fourth inductee is to be announced tomorrow. It won’t be Harrington, as Daily Mail golf correspondent Derek Lawrenson has revealed.

If Finchem’s getting in, then there might just be hope for former Ladies European Tour CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh.


I’ve been to the Hall of Fame. To be fair, it was better than I expected. It’s a good way to kill a couple of hours if you ever find yourself in St Augustine, Florida, that hotbed of golf history.

It was cool seeing some of the exhibits in the lockers of the greats who played the game. I seem to remember Sam Snead’s side-saddle putter, a set of clubs Phil Mickelson played with as a youngster, a ball Jack Nicklaus used in one of his 18 major wins, Walter Hagen’s driver, etc.

What Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and George H.W Bush donated to the Hall of Fame is beyond me. Yes, these three are in the Golf Hall of Fame. Perhaps Hope donated a draft of a joke he once wrote. Crosby might have left a recording of Straight Down the Middle. Bush maybe left his handicap certificate.

Like many others who’ve visited the Hall, the question that jumped out was: what on earth are personalities like Hope and Crosby along with a plethora of golf administrators doing in a Golf Hall of Fame along with greats like Vardon, Jones, Sarazen, Hagen, Hogan, Snead, Nelson, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Ballesteros, Faldo, Langer, etc?

Finchem is yet another administrator inducted into the hall with predecessor Deane Beman. Ken Schofield is also in the hall. They take their place alongside Joe Dey, Fred Corcoran, Richard S. Tufts. Who they? I hear you ask.

PGA Tour purses rose when Finchem was running the PGA Tour from 1994-2016, a period which just happened to coincide with Tiger Woods’s career. That’s not to say Finchem wasn’t a competent operator, but I think my local publican could have raised purses with Woods as his main selling feature.

His, and Bemen’s, inclusion in the Hall surely couldn’t have anything to do with the fact the PGA Tour has helped prop up the finances of the World Golf Hall of Fame over the years, could it? Surely not? Wonder what class current PGA Tour Jay Monahan will be in?

Former colleagues Adam Schupak and Eamon Lynch seem divided on Finchem’s induction, with Lynch arguing for Finch’s inclusion, and Schupak questioning his place among golf’s greats. Schupak says:

“His election further validates claims that it is merely a popularity contest and charges of cronyism…. The last thing it needed was to enshrine another administrator.”

No offence, Eamon, but I agree with Adam. It’s yet another slide in the World Golf Hall of Fame’s credibility

Hey ho, maybe Harrington will get the nod two years from now. He can look forward to joining the class of ‘23 with Khodabakhsh.

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