Which players will reach the HOF?

It was a long wait for Hubert Green and Curtis Strange, but on Wednesday each man was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Some current players were likely taking notice, considering their records are similar to those of the two newest HOFers. Green won 19 career PGA Tour events, while Strange won 17; each owns two major titles.

We gave our experts three players -- Davis Love III (19 PGA Tour wins, one major), Colin Montgomerie (eight European Tour Order of Merit titles, no majors) and Fred Couples (15 PGA Tour wins, one major) -- and asked them to opine on each one's chances of reaching the HOF someday.

Davis Love III will someday be a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Bob Harig, contributor, ESPN.com: FACT. What could hurt Love is the fact that many view him as an underachiever. But with 19 wins, including a major and two Players Championships, he has a similar career to Hall member Tom Kite.

Jason Sobel, golf editor, ESPN.com: FACT. Pro: Longevity. His 19 wins have spanned 20 seasons and he played on six Ryder Cup teams. Con: Will forever be known -- fairly or not -- as a guy who never lived up to his talent. Result: He's in. The numbers don't lie.

Ron Sirak, executive editor, Golf World: FACT. Call it the Tom Kite rule. Not fulfilling your potential is considered a qualifying criteria.

John Antonini, senior editor, Golf World: FACT. If Hubert Green can get elected, so can Love, and his 19 wins and one major (the same as Tom Kite) are certainly good enough. In fact, Love was in the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list 10 times, also the same number as Kite.

Colin Montgomerie will someday be a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Harig: FACT. He's never won in the U.S., but golf is a world game and there is no denying the feat of winning seven consecutive European money titles.

Sobel: FACT. Pro: Ryder Cup stalwart who remained the top Euro player for over a decade. Con: Five runner-up finishes at majors, but no title. Result: Should be a no-brainer. Could happen in the next few years.

Sirak: FACT. The European voters know how much he's meant to the Ryder Cup, and how impressive it is to win seven consecutive Orders of Merit.

Antonini: FACT. He won't get in via the regular ballot, but the international committee will look at Montgomerie's 30 European Tour victories and his seven straight Order of Merit titles and will deem him worthy of inclusion.

Fred Couples will someday be a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Harig: FICTION. Injuries have derailed Couples, but 15 victories including one major is simply not enough.

Sobel: FACT. Pro: His 15 wins include a Masters and two Players; he's also known as a fan favorite throughout the world. Con: Might need a few more wins to bolster the stats, but that's looking less and less likely these days. Result: It may take awhile, but he'll get in based on the fact that he was well-liked and injuries curtailed his success.

Sirak: FACT. See the Davis Love entry. One major and a handful of regular tour wins is now thought to make you an immortal.

Antonini: FICTION. He needs another major, and it's unlikely the bad back will allow him to get it. Couples has 15 wins, but his legacy is marked with inconsistency, at least on the level of Hall of Fame status.

Subscribe to:

Golf Digest