Only time will tell whether Darren Clarke finds a spot reserved for him in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Until then, the
Clarke is believed to be the only man to win a major title after being turned down for Hall of Fame membership.
Talk about improving your odds.
A year ago, just 6 percent of Hall voters thought the easygoing Northern Ireland pro deserved a plaque in St. Augustine, Fla. This week brings Clarke's third appearance on the International ballot, albeit with a far glossier dossier.
Good for Clarke. But it does raise the question (again) about why an entity that in any given week can show us a 40-something pro in
In terms of career longevity, that would be akin to
That's the little asterisk golf carries.
"They don't retire," Hall of Fame operating chief Jack Peter is fond of saying.
In some cases, they're just getting started.
Then there's the case of
And now the 43-year-old Clarke, whose 22 victories worldwide certainly make him worthy of appearing before electors. No one else, though, has won his lone major after first appearing on the ballot.
"I feel so much drive in me," he said. "It's kind of a funny situation where you get into something like this while still very active as a player."
It hasn't been a great post-induction stretch for Els, though he has been an escape artist in avoiding the FedEx Cup cut.
Maybe there's a message in that too — there's no time to bask in Hall enshrinement when you're still grinding.
These days, 50 seems a far more natural transitional age. By that time, most top names are ready to step over to the Champions Tour. It doesn't seem a bad Hall of Fame threshold, either.