Autonomy issues are plaguing World Golf Hall of Fame

Officials at the Florida venue will not stage an induction ceremony in 2014 as it reassesses its selection criteria, which is long overdue.

Tiger Woods is eligible to be on the World Golf Hall of Fame ballot at the end of the 2015 season. If the age limit is pushed back to 50, he would not be eligible until 2025. Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
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The World Golf Hall of Fame, on pace to enshrine pretty much anybody who hit a professional shot based on current induction rates, is taking a timeout.

Officials at the Florida venue will not stage an induction ceremony in 2014 as they reassess their selection criteria. While that notion is laudable and long overdue, the back story leaves little room for optimism. So, hold that polite golf clap, please.

Four years ago, hall officials convened a panel of writers and dignitaries and asked for suggestions about streamlining the induction process.

There are five avenues to enshrinement, which is confusing and unwieldy. For instance, the LPGA has its own qualifying criteria based on a points system. The panel suggested that a committee of accountable experts be convened, then locked in a room with a list of candidates until two worthy picks were identified. The NFL identifies honorees in similar fashion.

Nothing changed.

Golf’s hall has autonomy issues. Whereas many halls of fame are independent, golf’s is propped up financially by the PGA Tour and other entities. Strings are attached.

For the sake of its own credibility, the hall should refine the process, then require the sport to follow suit. If, for instance, the LPGA resists the new format, fine. No LPGA players will be enshrined.

A hall of fame should be a repository of the best, regardless of gender, nationality or the caprices of political constituencies.