Is Monty a Hall of Famer? Voters says yes . . barely

Colin Montgomerie is a legend in European golf. He won the European Tour’s Order of Merit eight times, he was a warhorse in some of Europe’s biggest Ryder Cup wins and he was never defeated in eight Ryder Cup singles matches, going 6-0-2.

Is is also one of the more polarizing figures in the game for some reason. American fans just hated the guy, and some European fans were quite cool to Monty as well. He had rabbit ears and seemed to respond poorly to incidents that would have been better to not respond to. And while he had brushes with major titles, including playoff losses in the PGA and the U.S. Open, he never won a major.

Colin Montgomerie will go into the World Golf Hall of Fame next May (AP file photo)

So, put that together, and is it a resume for a Hall of Famer? The voters in the international ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame have decided the answer is yes. by a vote of 51 percent. So Montgomerie will join the World Golf Hall of Fame next May, along with Fred Couples, Ken Venturi, Willie Park Jr. and another international name, former European Tour commissioner Ken Scholfield.

By comparison, Ian Woosnam, who does have a major title, earned just 21 percent of the international ballots. Padraig Harrington, a three-time major winner, was named on just 19 percent of the ballots.

Already today there are cries that a man without a major shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame or that the 50-percent requirement is just too low or that the Hall of Fame is just letting too many people in and perhaps too early in their careers. Remember, Phil Mickelson made the Hall of Fame last year and might have five or six good, winning years left in him.

But no one questions Mickelson (40 wins, four majors) being in the Hall of Fame, just that he is in with years left to play. Some are questioning Montgomerie’s elections. That’s to be expected for a play who was either loved or hated. No one seemed to have a neutral opinion of Monty.

I for one am fine with Monty getting in the Hall (I do not have a vote for the Hall in any category). Eight money titles in Europe and the his strong Ryder Cup play and presence is enough for me, even without a major.

Still, some will look at a class that includes Couples, Monty, Venturi and Park Jr. and wonder if this is one of the weakest classes to enter the Hall of Fame. Yet each has a different and remarkable story, and each can make a strong case for the Hall of Fame.

Still, with the slight uproar over Monty making the Hall with just 51 percent of the vote, you have to wonder if the people at the World Golf Hall of Fame might not take another look at their criteria.