With his victory last week, Garcia totals 11 on the PGA Tour and 15 on his native European Tour, plus his Ryder Cup prowess, but has he done enough? John Hawkins and Mike Purkey take it from here
Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Mike Purkey, who co-host the weekly Hawk & Purk podcast on MorningRead.com, also discuss and debate the game’s hottest issues in this weekly commentary.
Sergio Garcia won in Mississippi last weekend for his 11th title on the PGA Tour, to go with 15 in Europe and a handful of others on satellite tours internationally. Has Garcia done enough to merit induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame?
Hawk’s take: It is time yet again to whip out the low-bar example of a European who has been elected to the WGHOF (Colin Montgomerie) and compare his career to Garcia’s. Monty never won a major championship and never won an official event in America. Did someone already bang the gavel? Good, because Garcia belongs, at least by today’s weak, commercially motivated standards.
That stirring 2017 Masters triumph probably was the clincher for the oft-chided Spaniard, who turned 40 in January. The anchor to his case, however, is his brilliant Ryder Cup play, which likely is what made Montgomerie a hall-of-famer. Without question, Garcia is one of the top three or four performers in the history of the matches, sporting a 22-12-7 record against what were supposed to be some exceptionally strong American squads.
To the chagrin of many wrapped in red, white and blue, Garcia walked the walk and squawked the squawk. Although his petulance has bordered on unforgivable over the years, he is one of very few players with double-digit win totals on the game’s two biggest tours. Productivity, not behavior, is all that matters here.
A Masters, a Players Championship (2008), a Vardon Trophy (2008) and Euro Tour Golfer of the Year (2017). Garcia belongs in the WGHOF, whether we like it or not.
Purk’s take: Whether Sergio Garcia belongs in the World Golf Hall of Fame depends on your definition of what’s hall-worthy. Garcia, who’s 40 years old, has a resume that features 11 PGA Tour victories, including the Masters and the Players Championship, and 15 European Tour titles.
However, he’s never won a World Golf Championships event; never won the European Tour Order of Merit; never won the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of the European Tour. His 11 PGA Tour wins include the Sanderson Farms Championship last week, which did not exactly have a field chock full of the game’s top players.
The tipping point for Garcia’s entry into the WGHOF is likely to be his Ryder Cup record. He has played in an astounding nine Ryder Cups and is one of the most successful players in the match’s history, compiling a record 25½ points with a 22-12-7 mark. A number of voters will use that to boost Garcia’s case.
But the “W” in WGHOF stands for “World,” and it’s not the Ameri-Euro Hall of Fame. Ryder Cup players get no world-ranking points, and the matches are conducted in a format for which 12 Europeans play only three days every other year.
If Garcia is to be in the same shrine as Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan, he should be required to do more than just be skilled at foursomes, four-ball and singles.
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