Feb
22
2011
This Week’s PGA Tour Confidential: Is Fred Couples a Lock for the HOF?
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour Confidential

Freddie Fever

The SI Golf Group had an especially lively PGA Tour Confidential (e-mail exchange) on Sunday evening, where anger management classes were even suggested by a colleague to another at one point! I’m joking, but there was some interesting back-and-forth between several participants. And then a few of us just got downright goofy. Fun times.

There’s nothing like Hall of Fame talk to get a bunch of golf writers fired up! The discussion was kicked off with whether we thought Freddie Couples’ place in the HOF was sealed. I think so. Even though he’s one of the biggest underachievers of his generation, I don’t think you can tell the history of golf without mentioning Couples and the impact he’s had on the game. Here are some excerpts from this week’s PGA Tour Confidential:

Morfit: I think he’s done enough, and the fact that he’s done it for so long helps, too. You could also argue that there are lesser players than Fred already in the Hall.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Every Hall of Fame has guys who aren’t quite worthy. They shouldn’t be the standard. Being a nice guy and charismatic are also not relevant.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Strictly on golf, he probably shouldn’t be, but the guy is beloved by golf writers, so he’s a lock.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Freddie’s an automatic HOFer. It’s amazing how talented and cool that guy is without putting in any effort. Or hardly any.

Shipnuck: He’s not a Hall of Famer, except in the category of unfulfilled potential. Everyone loves Fred, and he’s had a very good career, but I don’t think he’s Hall worthy.

Tom Patri, Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher: Unfulfilled potential! Spoken like a true 15-handicapper. Armchair athletes have no clue how good Fred’s kind of good is.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I’d agree that Fred probably comes up short for the Hall on his golf. I wouldn’t count on him to get in by the writers, because I’m not so sure the percentage of voters who are writers is that huge. Given that the Tour has made the Hall induction into an annual ceremony and TV show, they are going to need inductees every year. Fred will get in because the number of remaining legit Hall candidates has seriously dwindled. That’s why Davis Love and Mark O’Meara and probably Colin Montgomerie will all get in eventually, too.

….

Morfit: The problem with this argument, and the reason it’s so tiresome, is that everybody’s looking at different criteria. It would be so much easier if there were some hard-and-fast rules, like you’ve got to have 15 Tour wins, including three majors, or 20 including two majors, or whatever. Isao Aoki had a bunch of wins in Japan and no majors, and he’s in. Maybe Fred should’ve gone and played over there.Gorant: For a while the sort of unwritten rule seemed to be 20 wins and one major. If you had fewer than 20, you had to have more than one major. That hasn’t totally held up, which is too bad because it makes a muddle of everything.

Van Sickle: The LPGA got it right, almost. It set standards — and then lowered them. Its HOF members are cut and dried.

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: If you go for the “specific criteria” approach, you wind up like the LPGA Hall of Fame, which had embarrassing “will she make it” watches for great players like Amy Alcott and Betsy King.

Two words: Laura Davies. What do you think? Does the HOF need standard criteria?

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)