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Should you prefer a circuitous route, you can get to the World Golf Hall of Fame by driving through Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
But if your mission were to earn a spot into the World Golf Hall of Fame, your chances would be enhanced if you stopped on your drive through Ponte Vedra Beach and won THE PLAYERS Championship.
Even sweeter if you could do it twice.
Now no one would insinuate that Davis Love III’s spot in the Class of 2017 for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame was owed solely to THE PLAYERS Championships he won in 1992 and 2003. Not when his resume includes 21 PGA TOUR wins, including the 1997 PGA Championship. But it would be foolhardy to suggest that those victories at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass didn’t provide massive weight for his nomination.
Remember Fred Couples’ reaction the day Love closed with a scintillating 8-under 64 to storm to victory at THE PLAYERS Championship 2003? “Best round of golf I’ve ever seen played,” gushed Couples, who shares with his friend the distinction of being a two-time winner of THE PLAYERS.
Oh, and Couples is in the Hall of Fame, too, so perhaps it’s not to be dismissed, this connection between THE PLAYERS and enshrinement into golf’s penthouse down in St. Augustine, Florida. Consider those who won THE PLAYERS during Love’s prime and are also in the World Golf Hall of Fame – Couples, Nick Price, Phil Mickelson and (no doubt) Tiger Woods. And in those early years of THE PLAYERS, men such as Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Kite and Sandy Lyle won and eventually got inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
That Love’s wins at THE PLAYERS came during what arguably could be labeled his finest seasons is telling. In 1992 when he shot 67-68-71-67 to win at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, Love had a three-win season. It was even better in 2003, a four-win campaign that was highlighted by the 70-67-70-64 march at THE PLAYERS.
Certainly, it’s not a prerequisite for WGHOF induction to win twice at THE PLAYERS.
But it’s a sure sign that you’re a player of impeccable talent.
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