Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hall of Fame Hogwash

I've been seeing some comments on the internet from some folks who think Jose Maria Olazabal is just too young to be inducted into the hall of fame.

That's stupid. More than stupid. According to Wikipedia, there is a minimum age requirement of 40 years for the International ballot (how Olazabal was selected). I know in some cases reaching a certain age is indeed an achievement (and in some cases it's pure luck), but it shouldn't be a limiting factor for induction into the Hall of Fame, and the one comment I saw which said there should be an age limit was obviously uninformed since there already is one.

Why make Olazabal wait? Is there a chance he might 'un-win' his two Masters tournaments and therefore become ineligible?

Granted, we don't want to see 25 year olds inducted just because they rush out and win a couple of majors. But Olazabal has had a long and stellar career so far with his majors and Ryder Cup experiences. He is looked upon by many players and event organizers alike with immeasurable respect, particularly considering his battle with health issues and how he came back from illness to win the Masters.

Olazabal deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Sure he's only 43. But Vijay Singh was 43 when he was inducted in 2006. So, it isn't like Olazabal is the youngest ever inductee.

In the world I live in (the same world these critics also inhabit), people retire and get their proverbial gold watch after 20 years of service. Olazabal has already been a professional golfer for more than 20 years. He didn't just come along recently.

I wonder how many of these critics actually follow golf and know about Olazabal's incredible career. The fact that he's getting inducted means that there are a lot of players and voters who do.

1 comment:

Onllie_the_best said...

You are exactly right.
The criteria's are there and if some think that Justin Leonard should be in the Hall of Fame for his "infamous" 45 foot putt during a Ryder Cup match. Sorry! Leonard, is not eligible, he has to WIN two MAJORS. And that criteria is not in every professional golfers pedigree.
And like you say, not too many people know of Olazabal feats. He came close to win the Masters in 1991! but a disastrous 7 on a par 3 cost him the win. In 2006, in the final day, he played a marvelous 66 (with a bit of luck it could have been a 64) and he came in 3rd. He won a PGA tournament by 12 shots; in one tournament, Olazabal played 67 he was the only player who played under par; even Tiger cited that round was probably the best ever.
And for the ballot, Olazabal has been a PGA tour member since 2000; if he would have played in the USA when he started, he would have been a superstar.
If Disney made a movie called: The greatest game ever played based on the true life story of Francis Ouimet who won the US Open as an amateur, there will certainly be one for the double Master champion who at one point could not even walk.