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Angel Cabrera set to punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame

April 14th, 2013 · 2 Comments

A player may or may not gain entrance to the Hall of Fame with two major titles. Take the cases of Andy North and John Daly, who have won two, but have little else to back up these wins on their resumes. As a result, neither will likely to ever be voted in unless North’s long career as a TV commentator is coupled with his two U.S. Open.

Win three, however, and you will almost certainly gain admission, though it may take a while. Just ask three-time major champion Larry Nelson, who won his third in 1987, then waited until 2007 (at age 58) to finally be voted in. It took this long because the rest of his record, which includes only five other top 10s in the majors (actually these were top 7s), was frankly not that impressive.

Still, Nelson has set a precedent for a triple major winner with an otherwise ordinary record to become a member in golf’s most cherished club. Let’s assume that Cabrera wins his third major today. How would his record in the majors compare to Nelson’s?

Cabrera has seven other top 10s in to Nelson’s five. And his three wins would include two Masters (perhaps with Woods second again) and one U.S. Open (with Woods second) while Nelson’s three include a U.S. Open (over Tom Watson), and two PGA’s.

Those who vote for the Hall of Fame place a heavy emphasis on the majors (and rightfully so in my opinion), and this works to the benefit of international players who’s records on the PGA Tour are far less impressive than their American peers.

So, given the Nelson 3-Major Standard, Cabrera would seem assured of gaining admission to the Hall of Fame if he wins today – and if he does, I hope that it doesn’t take another 19 years for this 43 year old to be voted in – and for triple major winner Padraig Harrington, for that matter.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike Cambridge // Apr 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Angel Cabrera has only two PGA wins; both majors. I want him to win today because it would show that winning majors does not correlate to being a great golfer. How’s his plaque going to validate HOF status? I expect the great John Daly will be voted in some day.

    Golf marketing requires a steady diet of annual HOF inductees; i.e. Che Che Rodriguez’ 7 career wins and no majors is in the HOF??? It’s counterintuitive to think that many HOF golfers never qualified for the PGA Tour’s lifetime exemption. Imagine, active HOF golfers with less than 20 career wins have to formally beg (by letter) for exemptions into PGA events.

    It’s Tiger’s and Jack’s fault. Tiger incentivised the exaggerated focus on the majors because he targeted the greatest golfer in history (Nicklaus) and his 18 majors since he was 5. Tiger was a national curiosity for years until he knocked off 6 USGA majors in 6 years and turned pro. The PGA immediately recognized its best ever marketing opportunity in Tiger chasing Jack in the majors. You can’t market golf for 15-20 years by comparing career stroke averages and win%.

    So the majors easily ascended to the top performance criteria in golfing greatness (ABOVE owning the most all-time records by a wide margin) because low interest and low information fans can follow and become excited about a race to the number 19.

  • 2 Mike Cambridge // Apr 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Angel Cabrera must hold on today for any chance for the HOF no matter how weak his credentials. Tiger WILL be criticized for not winning from behind. Which reminds me that the 54 hole cutoff for determining who’s ahead and who’s behind is NOT either an official or recognized USGA or R&A rule. Tiger was 1 shot behind Rocco in the 2008 US Open when they teed up on the 72nd and the 90th holes. Tiger won that US Open from behind. But, not today.

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