PGA Tour Confidential: Hall of Fame holdup, Snedeker's PED-policing strategy and Vijay Singh's legacy

Fred Couples
Getty Images
Fred Couples was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.

Every Sunday night, Golf.com conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. The World Golf Hall of Fame announced the cancellation of its 2014 induction ceremony, citing the need for a “comprehensive review” of its selection process. This comes on the heels of widespread criticism, most notably from Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd, who complained after the induction of a 2013 class headlined by Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie that “the bar has been lowered” and “it’s not fair to the people who went in early.” What should the standard for enshrinement be?

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): I've been saying for a few years that the Hall of Fame induction shouldn't be an annual event. They're out of players to enshrine. Every other year, even every third year, is a better option. I like the way the ladies do it, with a set number of wins/majors. I suggest a points system factoring in wins, majors and Ryder Cup appearances. A points system would eliminate the current voting system in which we don't know who votes or how many votes the non-electees got.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: At a bare minimum, did the person leave a real and lasting mark on the game? I think two majors is a good benchmark rather than just one. I think the three senior majors should count for something. So should the great amateur titles. The age requirement should be pushed way, way back. Sixty, at a minimum. Fred Couples' senior career is making him a more legitimate Hall of Famer. His captaincy of Presidents Cup teams, too. It would have meant more to everybody had he first appeared on a ballot at age 60.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): There shouldn't be a standard for enshrinement. That's what got the LPGA Hall of Fame into such trouble. Instead, we should establish standards for greatness that make an individual worthy of the Hall of Fame. There's a gray area here, though, as the youngish voters have a hard time making proper assessments of the old-timers who have been left out, but there aren't enough modern players who have the slam-dunk credentials that warrant near-automatic admission. Oh, and the Hall of Fame remains far too biased towards regular Tour performance. Champions Tour records should be included, where relevant, as well as other tours, and more "contributors" -- be they administrators, broadcasters, teachers, architects, etc. -- should be recognized. This is the World Golf Hall of Fame, not the PGA Tour Hall of Fame.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): Good sense should be the standard. Or the smell test. George H.W. Bush and Ken Schofield both fail the latter. The big problem is that the Tour has turned the ceremony into a TV show that must have inductees every year, even if there aren't candidates. How about only enshrining people on odd numbered years? Simple, right?

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): I think multiple majors would be a good place to start, but now they've gone to one (Fred) and no majors (Monty, Aoki). I'm not sure how they fix this now except to be willing to have years when no one gets in. So this is a good start. The onus should be up to the players to rise up to the HOF, not on the HOF to come down to anyone's level.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com (@Jeff_Ritter): Not sure a hard and fast list of career accomplishments is the way for the Hall to go. But clearly the resumes of the most recent inductees were lacking, so this was a good time to pause and re-assess. (Davis Love and Mark O'Meara must be bummed -- I think they were next to get in.) At minimum, you should need one major title to be eligible (sorry, Monty), but beyond that, it's a broader question: Is this person important when telling the story of golf? If so, you've got a Hall contender.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): I'd like to say multiple majors, but this golf world has changed since Floyd's time. A global game, much deeper talent pool, much harder to win majors. One of many stats to support that: in 1971, when Floyd was in his prime, the weekend field at the U.S. Open included players from just four countries. At the 2013 U.S. Open, that number was 20. Athletes, real athletes, from all over the world play golf today. Not just a smattering of them from a few places. I agree that the 2013 class seemed watered down. Electing a major-less guy like Montgomerie was a bad move. But at this point, demanding much more than one major win might leave the Hall with no candidates at all.

2. In an interview with Golf Magazine, Brandt Snedeker said the PGA Tour should eliminate drug testing, calling it “a complete waste of time and money.” He went on to suggest that Tour players are capable of some kind of shame-based form of self-policing: “Trust me, if there’s a guy that gets caught doing anything a couple of times, whether it be bending a rule, we know about it, and we let him know about it. You don’t want to be labeled ‘that guy.’” Is Snedeker’s statement refreshingly honest or disturbingly naive or somewhere in between?

BAMBERGER: I love Brandt Snedeker as a player (fast) and a talker (fast), but here, he is woefully naive. First of all, how can golf be an Olympic sport without drug testing? Secondly, it's just illogical to think that the use of PEDs in golf is close to non-existent. They are in every other sport and in society at large. Having said that, and I am repeating here only what the academic experts are saying, the testers are way behind the users. The Tour's testing, in particular, looks pathetic upon close inspection. The commissioner's powers are far too broad and the process is far too secretive. I don't know what Vijay Singh is really looking for in his suit, but it could be a nightmare for the Tour.

SHIPNUCK: It's a joke. Vijay was so shamed by his use of a banned substance he's back out there collecting fat checks. Golf is an Olympic sport and so drug testing is a fact of life. Get over it, Brandt.

SENS: Naive. The idea perpetuates what I think of as one of golf's more irritating myths: that it is inherently a more honorable game than others, populated by players who are somehow more ethically and morally upright than others. Sure, there's an element of self-policing in golf. But what's even more prevalent is an aura self-congratulation about that self-policing. Spare me. The truth is that golf, like all other sports, has seen its share of cheaters. And shady characters. Among the many rules golf should have is a drug policy, along with people other than the players to enforce it.

PASSOV: Somewhere in between. If golf is an Olympic sport, you need the testing. And if we've learned anything in life (and sports), "Trust me" means squat. And yet, you know in your heart that Snedeker is correct. No other sport features athletes who call penalties on themselves, and the percentage of positive tests has been so ridiculously low, it's borderline silly to continue them.

MORFIT: It's not quite that simple. I've spoken to players who said they knew guys who took stuff and didn't get caught. It's repetitive-use, banging balls on the range, so there will always be repetitive-use aches and pains, and players trying to deal with them.

VAN SICKLE: This just in, Brandt: the Olympic-level drug testing hasn't even begun yet, buddy. I doubt that drugs are an issue in golf, but as just about every other sport has been proven dirty, this is a way for golf to prove that it's clean. Self-policing? Like Barry Bonds, maybe? Get serious.

RITTER: I admire his candor, but it's naive. We've been burned too many times by athletes claiming to be clean ("I've never failed a test" has become one of flimsiest defenses out there), so golf had no choice but to start a testing program. In fact, given that golf will be played in the Rio Games, golf's testing needs to be further improved to match the Olympic program. Plus, many of these PEDs don't bulk you up, but instead speed up the recovery process from injuries. You're telling me that out of the PGA Tour, the Euro Tour, the Web.com tour, the LPGA Tour, the Hooters Tour, and everything else out there, no one is experimenting with drugs to try to get an edge?

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