Colin Montgomerie was due to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St Augustine, Florida late last night, but the Scot’s election has been questioned by two-time major winner Tony Jacklin.
Jacklin has echoed comments made by Raymond Floyd, another major winner, that Montgomerie is unworthy of a spot among the game’s legends.
“I vote on the basis of who’s worthy,” Jacklin told the Florida Times-Union newspaper, “and there’s always majors in it for me.”
Montgomerie, who turns 50 next month, was the dominant player on the European Tour during the 1990s, winning 31 times and finishing atop the tour’s Order of Merit seven consecutive years. He also appeared on eight consecutive Ryder Cup teams – compiling an unbeaten record in singles – and captained the 2010 team to victory.
However, the Scot was last night becoming just the third player to be inducted via the International Ballot without having won a major title.
And Jacklin insists that Monty’s Ryder Cup record is not sufficient reason for his Hall of Fame inclusion. “He won’t be remembered for the Ryder Cup when he’s dead and buried,” said the Englishman, according to the report in the Florida publication. “It will just be something that happened in a Ryder Cup. I understand he has a fantastic record and is a great player, but he should have won majors.”
American Fred Couples was also due to be inducted overnight but his inclusion has also been criticised. The 1992 Masters champion is just the third player inducted through the PGA Tour ballot with a single major victory, with two-time major champion Mark O’Meara and Davis Love III, who also has a single major to his name but a better tournament record, missing out.
Floyd, who won two USPGA Championships, one Masters and one US Open between 1969 and 1986, was one of the first to question the induction of Couples and Montgomerie. He said in a magazine interview in February that he didn’t even cast a ballot in some recent years because “the names are not worthy of induction.”
When asked specifically about Couples and Montgomerie, Floyd said he felt that they had not accomplished enough on golf’s biggest stages. “I’ll just say that you should have at least two majors,” he said. “It takes integrity away from the term ‘Hall of Fame.’ I’m very upset at the Hall of Fame.”
Last month, Montgomerie selected the items to be displayed in his Hall of Fame locker. They include the Olympic Torch he carried in Aberdeen as one of the torchbearers for last year’s Games in London, a commemorative trophy celebrating all eight of his European Tour Merit of Order victories and a bag and equipment from the 2010 Ryder Cup, where he captained Europe to victory at Celtic Manor. The exhibits and lockers celebrating the careers of Montgomerie and fellow Scots Willie Park Jnr and Ken Schofield, along with fellow Class of 2013 inductees Couples and Ken Venturi, will officially open to the public today.
Park’s items include the inscribed winner’s medal from the 1887 Open Championship while Schofield, the European Tour’s former chief executive, has opted for various memorabilia from Ryder Cups in the 1980s.