The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum has revealed the ballots for its PGA Tour and International Hall of Fame nominees, and there are some very familiar faces atop the ballots.
Unlike other sports, golf has a rolling system of nomination eligibility, mainly because unlike in other sports, nobody ever really retires from this game. So if you're a good enough player, you can get in well before your playing days are done ... as is the case this year. Leading the Tour ballot is none other than Phil Mickelson, the four-time major winner, along with defending FedEx Cup champion Jim Furyk. Both became eligible for the Tour ballot after playing 10 years on Tour (achieved several years ago) and turning 40 (achieved in the last year). Another method of eligibility is winning 20 combined PGA Tour and Champions events; Loren Roberts joined the ballot this way.
So let's run down the list of nominees and see who's worthy of a vote for the Hall of Fame this year, shall we? First, the PGA Tour nominees:
Miller Barber: Dominated on the Champions Tour, winning five majors from 1981 to 1985.
Fred Couples: One of the game's finest ambassadors, with a Masters win to his credit.
Jim Furyk: A major and FedEx Cup winner, one of the best currently playing the game.
Don January: The man with a name like an international spy won the 1967 PGA Championship and more than 30 senior events.
Tony Lema: A talented young golfer, winner of the 1964 British Open, who died at age 32 in a plane crash ... ironically enough, on a water hazard of a golf course.
Davis Love III: The longtime pro might be a 2012 Ryder Cup victory away from induction.
Harold "Jug" McSpaeden: Longtime rival of Byron Nelson who holds the PGA Tour record for second-place finishes: 13 in a single year.
Phil Mickelson: Four-time major winner. One of the best golfers of all time. A certain induction.
Mark O'Meara: Two-time major winner who was one of the most successful golfers of the pre-Tiger 1990s.
Loren Roberts: Longtime pro with 24 professional wins, including eight on the PGA Tour.
Macdonald Smith: Standout player in the early years of the 20th century; his 24 wins on the PGA Tour without a major trail only Harry Cooper for that dubious honor.
Dave Stockton: PGA Championship winner who's evolved into one of the finest putting coaches in the world.
Ken Venturi: Longtime announcer and U.S. Open winner perhaps best known for just falling short of winning the Masters on two occasions.
Fuzzy Zoeller: Two-time major winner, he won the Masters in his very first appearance there, and has won 19 professional tournaments total.
The international ballot:
Peter Alliss: One of golf's do-everything utility men, the author, commentator and golfer won 23 times as a professional, and remains one of the most notable announcers in golf.
Darren Clarke: The longtime pro won this year's British Open in an emotional triumph.
Max Faulkner: An outstanding British golfer who captured the British Open in 1951. Reportedly owned over 300 putters.
Retief Goosen: The Iron Goose was one of the finest golfers of the early 2000s, and remains an occasional force even today.
Miguel Angel Jiminez: The inspiration for "Cigar Guy" is a fascinating character and a 21-time winner.
Sandy Lyle: One of the finest European golfers of the 1980s, he's a two-time major winner.
Graham Marsh: An outstanding Australian golfer who never managed to break through on a sustained level in majors.
Colin Montgomerie: Perhaps the best player never to win a major, Monty is nonetheless a Ryder Cup stalwart as both player and captain.
Norman Van Nida: The finest Australian golfer of the mid-20th century, he boasted 43 professional wins but lost many of his finest playing years to World War II.
Ian Woosnam: The former World No. 1 was one of the best golfers of the 1980s, and captured the Masters in 1991.
So, your choices? We'd vote for Mickelson, Couples, Venturi, Alliss and Montgomerie. And you?