They will be inducted this November.
For Curtis Strange and Hubert Green–two golfers who never listed patience among their virtues–entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame required waiting their turn. Both first appeared on the ballot in 1996 and watched during the past decade as several contemporaries were honored. Yet with Wednesday’s announcement that the two will be part of the Class of 2007 inducted Nov. 12 at the World Golf Village, the worthy punctuation to their impressive careers finally arrived.
Players need to appear on 65 percent of the ballots for admission. Strange, 52, was included on 70 percent (compared to 50 percent in ’06). He claimed 17 PGA Tour victories, highlighted by back-to-back U.S. Opens in 1988-89. After a stint as a TV commentator, he is in his third season on the Champions Tour.
Green’s name appeared on only 52 percent of ballots cast, but he was selected by a separate veteran’s committee. The 60-year-old Alabama native turned pro in 1969 and won 19 tour titles, including the 1977 U.S. Open and 1985 PGA Championship. He also has four Champions Tour wins and has continued to play after successfully battling cancer of the throat and tongue in 2003.
No international players reached the 65 percent threshold for election, with Jumbo Ozaki getting the most votes (46 percent).
More announcements regarding the 2007 class are expected this summer. Se Ri Pak, who has met the LPGA’s points criteria, will become eligible when she plays her 10th event this year, her 10th season on tour, and also is expected to be inducted in November.
Pak is deserving without question. The case for both Strange and Green is fuzzier. Let’s review both their records.
Hubert Green victories-
1971 (1) Houston Champions International
1973 (2) Tallahassee Open, B.C. Open
1974 (4) Bob Hope Desert Classic, Greater Jacksonville Open, IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic, Walt Disney World National Team Championship (with Mac McLendon)
1975 (1) Southern Open
1976 (3) Doral – Eastern Open Invitational, Greater Jacksonville Open, Sea Pines Heritage Classic
1977 (1) U.S. Open
1978 (2) Hawaiian Open, Heritage Classic
1979 (2) Hawaiian Open, First NBC New Orleans Open
1981 (1) Sammy Davis Jr.-Greater Hartford Open
1984 (1) Southern Open
1985 (1) PGA Championship
Plus on the Senior Tour
1998 Bruno’s Memorial Classic
2000 Audi Senior Classic, Kroger Senior Classic
2002 Lightpath Long Island Classic
1979 (1) Pensacola Open
1980 (2) Michelob-Houston Open, Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic
1983 (1) Sammy Davis Jr.-Greater Hartford Open
1984 (1) Lajet Golf Classic
1985 (3) Honda Classic, Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational, Canadian Open
1986 (1) Houston Open
1987 (3) Canadian Open, Federal Express St. Jude Classic, NEC World Series of Golf
1988 (4) Independent Insurance Agent Open, Memorial Tournament, U.S. Open, Nabisco Championship
1989 (1) U.S. Open
Curtis has no senior titles. Of the two players, Strange’s credentials are clearly better. He led the PGA Tour money list in 1985, 87 and 88 and was third in 80. Hubert never finished higher than 3rd in 1974, and had top five money winner years in 76 and 78.
Curtis was the best player on tour from 85-88 or arguably his 89 US Open title. Hubie was never the top player on tour.
Pluses in Hubie’s favor are his two more tour titles, and longer career span from 1st to last tour triumph(10 for Curtis, 14 for Hubert) On the other hand, Curtis had more 2nd tier tour titles. His 2 Canadien Open wins, plus the World Series of Golf, Nabisco(Now known as the Tour Championship) and Memorial. The only comprable wins by Hubert are arguably Doral and Heritage which were considered more prestigious than they are today. However Hubert has alot of lowest tier wins in places like the BC Open, Tallahassee, Walt Disney World and Southern Opens.
Hubie was very good. Is the Hall of Fame for the very good or the great?
Two players who probably will not the HOF but should be considered are Miller Barber and Don January. While both won only ten and eleven tour titles respectively, each had outstanding Senior records with over 20 wins each and multiple majors. Both were arguably the best Senior player in the mid eighties.
I would have voted Barber or January before Green. As for Jumbo Ozaki, he was the best player in Japan but never came close to winning in the US.(Tied for 4th is his best finish) Then this is the World Golf Hall of Fame.
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