Fred Couples was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday as a member of the class of 2013. The 1992 Masters champ will be honored next May. This news has generated three sorts of opinions from the golf world in the last 24 hours: A) Those celebrating Fred Couples for his contributions to golf since he turned pro in 1980. B) Those saying Couples, without a decorated championship resume, doesn't deserve the honor. C) Those believing this is yet another example, perhaps a tipping point, of the shortcomings of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
We captured all sides of the spectrum.
Here's a sampling:
If you look at Couples' body of work within the realm of golf history, he's an obvious choice from this generation of golfers.
Patch Cotter (via Golf Digest's Facebook page): He is the Jimmy Buffett of professional golf. Laidback, easy-going. Never a problem—in life and his swing.
Mark Dwyre (via Golf Digest's Facebook page): It's not your win/loss record as much as how you've influenced the game. "Boom Boom": golf's people's champion before any other. Congrats.
Taylor Anderson (via GeoffShackelford.com's comment box): Despite Couples only having one major title, he's finished in the top 10 in majors a fairly-impressive 26 times and the top five 12 times. For perspective, Sandy Lyle has two majors but only four top-10 finishes. I just don't see Couples being so far outside a lot of guys in the HOF and the longevity of his career alone is impressive. The HOF criteria might be screwed up, but there are other guys in the HOF that should be considered outliers before Couples.
Ron Alexander (via GeoffShackelford.com's comment box): What is it about Freddie that sets him apart? I'll tell you why I would elect him, because he had the Tiger factor before anybody heard of Tiger! Like Tiger, Freddie was a determining factor as to whether I would even watch the weekly telecast. Freddie was a long hitter, Freddie was exciting, and for over 10 years Freddie was "THE MAN!" I'm not the idiot who used to yell that at every golf tourney but it did seem like it always accompanied a Freddie Couples tee shot. Anyway, congrats to Freddie a deserving champion!
On the opposite end, there are those that think his sole major win and 15 PGA Tour wins aren't enough to warrant a Hall of Fame entry.
Tim in Hoylake (via GeoffShackelford.com's comments): Surely there must be a new requirement going forward: you have to look at least over 30 to get in. The problem to some degree is the lack of 'elder statesman-ly-ness' about all the recent inductees. You used to think that Hall of Fame meant 'one last party for the old phucker' before he kicks off. Now, it's like 'let's give it to some frat boy who was reasonably popular and didn't embarrass himself for the most part; and won a few tourneys.' I appreciate this is a gross generalisation and not directed at Mr. Couples, who graced many a Canadian Skins game with outrageous eagles at just the right time to take home all the cash year after year.
Sean O'Nuallain (via GeoffShackelford.com's comment box): Golf's version is nothing more than something nice to do when in St. Augustine. Beyond that it's meaningless. Everyone knows who the greats are without checking a list.
BenSeattle (via GeoffShackelford.com's comment box): What tiny, insignificant level of credibility the Golf Hall of Fame once enjoyed can now be seen, wings beating furiously, as it takes flight right out the window.>/b>
If we're giving Couples entry into St. Augustine, there's some obvious ones on the outside.
BenSeattle (via GeoffShackelford.com's comment box): Lemme see... Mark O'Meara has two majors and 16 wins, Davis Love has a major and 20 wins AND THEY'RE NOT IN WHILE FRED COUPLES IS?
Chi-Liem Cy (via Golf Digest's Facebook page): Congratulations Mr. Couples! You deserve it! Now I hope that Mark O'Meara is the next one! Masters and British Open champion in 1998. 16 PGA victories, 2 Champion Tour victories. A great ambassador to the game of golf and a true gentleman.