ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: Between the FedEx Cup finale and the upcoming Presidents Cup, golf fans can be excused if they missed the fact that Lorena Ochoa, Davis Love III, Meg Mallon, Ian Woosnam and Henry Longhurst will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this week. But it's not just the busy schedule that is suppressing the interest level. From the voting process to the qualification debate to the timing of the ceremony, there's plenty that -- it can be argued -- could be improved upon for the entire process. I've got an idea that I've floated a bunch of times over the years, but let's hear some of yours first, Bob.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: Where do we begin? It's probably too late, really. Golf's Hall has become about good not great. And that is not meant to take anything away from those players being inducted on Tuesday, along with the late writer Longhurst. And this is especially true on the men's side. You need a minimum of 15 wins across the world tours. Or two majors. The Hall of Fame should be for the elite of the elite. Is Davis Love III worthy? We could debate it probably. But when you consider some who have already gone in, he absolutely deserves to be there. And that is the first of many problems.
Sobel: All of which leads to my solution -- not only for the criteria, but for revving this thing up and making people care about it more. There should be various wings of the HOF. Call it the A Flight, B Flight, C Flight, etc., and literally house players' honorariums on separate levels of the actual building.
The first problem it eliminates is the notion that, say, a guy like DL3 is equal to Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan. He's not -- he knows it, we know it -- and there's nothing wrong with that. He'd be on the bottom floor, while those guys would reside on the top. The second problem it eliminates is the lackluster interest level toward the induction ceremony. Think of it this way: If each year -- or every two, or five years -- some of the game's all-time greats were included in the induction ceremony as a way of elevating their profile, it would generate debate and discussion and way more interest.
Besides, would anyone really not want to watch an induction ceremony that includes a speech from Nicklaus on being elevated to the top floor?
Harig: Well, that would require Jack Nicklaus to recuse himself from his duties on the selection committee. The entire system is flawed. Four former Hall of Famers as well as the leaders of the various tours are part of the 16-person committee that ultimately decides who gets in. How can they be objective? Do you think Jay Monahan will have an objective voice when it comes to his former boss, Tim Finchem, being considered?
But to your point, yes, it would help alleviate the concern of "not-so-great'' players getting into the Hall. In fact, it probably would mean more of them would get in, and then the decision would be where to put them.
Sobel: Yeah, that's obviously still an issue. I'm not sure how the HOF can't develop an established panel of former players, current players, instructors, tournament directors, media members and others around the game to voice their opinions on these matters. You're right -- I think in the current scenario, records can be blinded by relationships. But the truth is that I've rarely heard a player (Bubba Watson is an anomaly) insist that reaching the HOF someday is a career priority. Maybe that's just a byproduct of the one-day-at-a-time process they all speak about, but it just doesn't happen often.
Harig: True, but when it happens, being called a Hall of Famer is a big honor and having a place where all the greats of the game are enshrined is really cool. The World Golf Hall of Fame is an underrated destination, too, with plenty of interesting fodder for all level of golf fans.
Getting your name in there ought to mean something, as should the actual enshrinement ceremony. Golf has had a really tough time capturing what baseball and football have in that regard. That's partly due to their never being any down time in golf. The Hall has gone to an every-other-year induction and moved it to the site of big events -- hence the Presidents Cup this week -- and yet it still has a hard time gaining traction.