Bloomberg News

Mickelson Favors Delaying Golf Hall of Fame Eligibility Until 50

May 02, 2012

Phil Mickelson, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next week at age 41, would favor delaying his induction speech for another nine years.

The four-time major tournament winner would support a potential move by the St. Augustine, Florida, hall to delay a player’s eligibility for induction to age 50 from 40.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to moving the age,” Mickelson told reporters today in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will play in a U.S. PGA Tour event beginning tomorrow. “Now with fitness being a bigger part of the tour, careers are going longer. I think that would probably be a better point to reflect on your career as opposed to being inducted while you’re right in the middle of it.”

In November, Mickelson was elected for induction with the highest voting percentage in a decade. The only player elected from that U.S. PGA Tour ballot, Mickelson received 72 percent of the vote, the highest share since Greg Norman was elected with 80 percent in 2001, according to the hall.

He will be inducted on May 7, three days before the start of the PGA Tour’s Players championship.

Mickelson said he hasn’t had direct discussions with the Hall of Fame’s executives about moving the eligibility age. The issue has been discussed, he said, and “I support it.”

By working with coaches Butch Harmon and Dave Pelz, Mickelson said his swing involves using “leverage to create speed” instead of “violence or brute force,” leaving him relatively healthy.

Looking to Future

“I have no injuries or discomforts in my body,” the left- hander said. “I feel like these next five years could be the best of my career. So I’m still looking forward to what these next five years bring, if not further.”

The winner of 40 PGA Tour events, including the Masters Tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2010 and the PGA Championship in 2005, Mickelson became eligible for induction when he turned 40 last year. With his focus on adding more victories to his resume, Mickelson said his induction speech will focus more on what golf has meant to his life, as opposed to his on-course accomplishments.

“It’s meant so much to me in my personal life, not just what it’s done as an occupation but the people I’ve met throughout the game, the places it’s taken me, and the opportunities the game has provided me,” he said. “It’ll be along those lines.”

Others on the PGA Tour ballot who fell short of the 65 percent vote needed included Fred Couples (38 percent), Davis Love III and Mark O’Meara (both 29 percent), and Ken Venturi (27 percent). The PGA Tour ballot voting body consists of golf journalists, historians and golf dignitaries.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Charlotte mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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