Golf Tidbits: Couples narrowly makes Hall of Fame

"I don't know exactly the full criteria of becoming a Hall of Famer," Fred Couples admitted Wednesday at the press conference that announced his election to the Hall of Fame.

The criteria for PGA Tour players to make the World Golf Hall of Fame seems fairly low. Here's a look at them and see where Couples rates.

Minimum 40 years old, check. PGA Tour member for 10 years, check. Ten or more wins or two majors or Players Championship wins, check and check.

By the book, Couples meets the criteria with his 1992 Masters victory and two Players Championship titles. Two-time major champion Mark O'Meara also meets the criteria, but he hasn't made the Hall yet and is Couples' elder by three years.

Couples barely gained his way into the Hall with just enough votes. No one received the 65 percent of the vote needed for entry, but a clause calls for the highest vote getter to get into the Hall if he garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.

Couples picked up a less than resounding 51 percent of the vote. That was enough for him to get over the 50 percent minimum and made him the highest vote getter on the ballot.

In his press conference, Couples stated several time that it was "truly an honor" to get into the Hall, but intimated he's not sure he deserves the honor.

"I joke and say popularity because people always ask me about my popularity," Couples said. "And I know I have a few people out there that I annoy, and I have a lot of people that like watching me play golf. I hope a lot of people -- I don't want to say respect my game -- but understand that to be in the Hall of Fame you've got to be a very, very good player."

If you look at his record, he's had a lengthy career with the necessary amount of wins to meet the criteria. Does that make him very, very good?

Maybe not. He closed the previous statement with this kicker, "I don't consider myself to be a great player, but I'm a good player."

The argument against his getting into the Hall is that he didn't do enough with the game/talent he had.

Maybe, Couples has a good point though. He knows he was borderline and looks at how many potential Hall of Famers are left out there and maybe this will bring about tighter voting rules, which wouldn't be the worst thing.

Couples' 15 wins tie him for 57th on the PGA Tour all-time wins list. There are just six active PGA Tour members with more wins than him, and three of them (Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh) preceded Couples into the Hall of Fame, and another -- Woods, Eldrick -- hasn't turned 40 yet.

That isn't to say there are just two or three sure-fire Hall of Famers currently playing on the PGA Tour. To me it means this - there are a lot of very, very good players on Tour, but not many great ones.

"There are other people in the Hall of Fame that are maybe good players. But good is a good thing. I've been good at it for a long time, and I hope to continue to play a few more years," Couples said.

Adding in his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup play, I thought Couples was a borderline Hall of Famer, and the vote reflected that.

His admittance into the Hall of Fame makes him one of the all-time greats, whether you agree with his entry or not.


Does it have to be a rivalry? Does it have to be a 'bromance?' Does everything need a nickname or moniker?


Instead of breaking down whether Rory McIlroy intimidates Tiger Woods, or conversing about how good friends the two seem to be, let's just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Until Vijay Singh made it his one and only goal of usurping Woods from the top of the world rankings in 2004, no one played as well as McIlroy has recently in the Woods era.

I don't care if they are fast friends or blood rivals, I'm enjoying the great golf.

McIlroy has three wins and a tie for fifth in his last five starts. Woods has four top-11 finishes in those same events. Neither was a factor at The Barclays, the first playoff event. That was their collective blip on the radar.

I'm not going to compare the two and say this is the best golf we seen by the top-two players in the world since...

I'd rather sit back an enjoy the ride. No sense in talking until your blue in the face about how great they're playing.

Their results speak volumes.


* Fall officially arrives on Saturday, and would you believe this weekend's LPGA event is the last full-field event in the U.S. this season? After this, there are four events in Asia, one in Mexico, then the limited-field CME Group Titleholders. If the LPGA adds to its schedule in the coming years, it needs more full-field events late in the season to help those battling for tour cards for the following season.

* Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Asians would win all four majors on the LPGA Tour, and world No. 1 Yani Tseng would not be one of them?