Only four players who have
won at least three major championships are not in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
That could change in the next couple of weeks when the results from the PGA Tour
ballot are released.
One of the top candidates
is Payne Stewart, who wasn't even on the ballot at this time a year ago.
Stewart received less than
5 percent of the vote his first two years of eligibility and was dropped from
the ballot under Hall of Fame rules. But his name was restored after winning
the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 for his third major.
Thirty-five players have
won at least three majors. All are in the Hall of Fame except for Stewart, Larry
Nelson, Nick Price, and Denny Shute.
Stewart's death Oct. 25
in a plane crash -- after his name was restored to the ballot -- is bringing
more focus on his career. Along with three majors, he had eight other PGA Tour
victories and played on five Ryder Cup teams.
The only other players
who figure to get close to the 75 percent required for election are Greg Norman
and Ben Crenshaw. Norman received 65.82 percent of the vote last time, and that
was after a year in which he barely played because of shoulder surgery. Crenshaw
was at 49.36 percent, a 7 percent drop from the previous year, but he now has
a successful Ryder Cup captaincy to add to his credentials.
If none of them is elected,
that doesn't mean the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in November will be limited
to Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel.
The Hall recently approved
two new categories: lifetime achievement and veterans.
The achievement category
is for those who left their mark in areas beyond the tours -- architects, administrators,
and amateurs. The veterans' category is for players before 1960 who might not
have received proper recognition, such as Shute, the 1933 British Open champion
and the last man to win back-to-back PGA Championships.
Meanwhile, the LPGA is
offering nomination forms to fans, media, sponsors and tour players for its veterans'
category. A 12-person committee will vote to recommend a player, who then must
receive 75 percent of the vote by LPGA players.
Judy Rankin, a 26-time
winner and three-time Solheim Cup captain, is expected to get the strongest look.
Payne Stewart has been honoured with the Charles Bartlett Award, given by the
Golf Writers Association of America for unselfish contributions to the betterment
Stewart, the U.S. Open
champion who died Oct. 25 in a plane crash, was involved in Christian youth programs
and charitable causes in Orlando, Fla., throughout his career.
He donated his entire $108,000
paycheque from his victory in the 1987 Bay Hill Invitational to the Florida Hospital
Circle of Friends in memory of his father, who had died two years earlier. And
just before his death, he donated $500,000 to the First Orlando Foundation for
a sports complex at First Academy, his children's school.
The award, named for the
first secretary of the GWAA, will be given April 5 at the group's annual awards
dinner in Augusta, Ga.
'TIS THE SEASON:
Not even the New Hampshire primaries are enough to make PGA Tour commissioner
Tim Finchem long for his days in campaigns.
Finchem was in charge of
finance for the Carter-Mondale primary in 1980 and was the national staff director
in the general election. Four years later, he was the national finance director
and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the Mondale-Ferraro
"I do not miss it," Finchem
said with a smile. "I learned a lot and it was a great experience. That's one
of the highest forms of competition. If you can't play a sport and are real competitive,
politics is the next best thing. It's fascinating -- and it's very hard to lose."
He got plenty of experience
Finchem said Walter Mondale's
loss to Ronald Reagan in 1984 was not that tough to deal with because he knew
it was coming. But Reagan's victory over Carter was another matter.
"Reagan came out of nowhere
the last five days," he said. "We were ahead in the polls until 72 hours before
the election, and then the Iranian thing collapsed on him. We had some other
problems -- double-digit inflation and double-digit interest rates. Other than
that ... ."
A REAL PARTY:
Golfweek is celebrating its
25th anniversary this year. What better way to commemorate a quarter of a century
than to throw a party during the PGA Merchandise Show this week in Orlando, Fla.?
The magazine came up with
a better idea.
Instead of a birthday bash,
it has sent out "invitations" announcing the silver anniversary -- and a donation
to The First Tee, the American Junior Golf Association, the Canadian Junior Golf
Association and the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association.
Golfweek didn't disclose
the sum, but said it would be equivalent to what it would have cost to throw
a party for itself.
DIVOTS: Lee Elder
will be honoured by the Golf Writers Association of America on the eve of The
Masters, his 25th anniversary of becoming the first black player in the tournament.
... The Phoenix Open marked the 185th consecutive PGA Tour event in which a Buy.com
Tour graduate finished in the top 10. ... Jesse Holshouser, chief financial officer
for the PGA of America the past 11 years, has joined Golden Bear International
as the chief operating officer. ... A Legends of Golf field already strengthened
by the team of Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd has another enticing entry --
Senior Tour rookies Tom Watson and Lanny Wadkins.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Davis Love III has replaced Greg Norman as No. 1 on the career money list with
$12,548,297. Tiger Woods could move to No. 1 if he wins Pebble Beach and Love
"I'm going to have to get
used to shooting some lower scores again." - Tom Kite, who makes his Senior PGA
Tour debut this week.