6 Most Overrated Hall of Famers in Golf History

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

6 Most Overrated Hall of Famers in Golf History

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    The World Golf Hall of Fame is a strange place.

    While the St. Petersburg, Fla. shrine honors the game's great players like Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer, it also honors those who were on the outskirts of the game.

    The course designers, the builders, the journalists, show business celebrities and the game's teachers are also in the Hall of Fame.

    The athletes in the Hall of Fame are also an interesting mix. Some are the greatest players who ever teed it up, while others seem like they are in a bit over their heads.

    Here's a look at six of the most overrated Hall of Famers in golf history.

Tommy Bolt

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    Even though Tommy Bolt played the majority of his career in the 1950s, many younger golf fans have probably heard of him or at least know his nickname, "Terrible Tommy Bolt."

    Bolt earned his nickname because of his temper. He was known for throwing his clubs and his intimidating glare. Perhaps Bolt should have been a football player or a boxer, because he regularly played an angry man's game of golf.

    Bolt won the 1958 U.S. Open and that's the only major championship he ever earned. He won 14 PGA tournaments in his PGA career.

    He was clearly a good player and a memorable showman, but he's not one of the most deserving Hall of Famers.

Roberto De Vicenzo

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    Can you earn a spot in the Hall of Fame due to sympathy?

    The case of Argentinian golfer Roberto De Vicenzo indicates that's a possibility.

    De Vicenzo was involved in one of the most memorable and controversial final rounds in Masters history in 1968. De Vicenzo and Bob Goalby should have finished in a tie for the lead after 72 holes and the Masters should have been decided in a playoff.

    However, De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and it showed he took an extra stroke. That gave Goalby a one-stroke victory and led to De Vicenzo's memorable line of "What a stupid I am."

    De Vicenzo won the 1967 British Open and just four PGA events. He won many more around the world, but it seems his memorable defeat in the '68 Masters was the impetus for his Hall of Fame induction.

Tony Jacklin

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    Tony Jacklin was a popular and charismatic British golfer. He is credited with re-energizing British interest in the game of golf in the 1970s.

    Jacklin was a solid player who had his moments. He won the British Open in 1969 and the U.S. Open in 1970. However, he only won two other PGA tour events.

    He also won 10 European tour events. That's solid, but it does not seem Hall of Fame-worthy. Even if he does deserve to be in the shrine, he's clearly one of its cellar dwellers.

Sandy Lyle

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    There is little doubt that Sandy Lyle was a brilliantly talented golfer.

    Spanish Hall of Famer Seve Ballesteros once said that if Lyle played to his ability every week, "Sandy would win and I'd be second."

    Lyle had a very good career, but not a great one.

    He won the 1985 British Open and the 1988 Masters, and those were his only majors. He won four other PGA tour events and 18 on the European Tour.

    Those are solid numbers, but not impressive for a Hall of Fame golfer with his level of talent.

Chi Chi Rodriguez

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    Chi Chi Rodriguez played in an era when golf had no shortage of heroic figures and colorful players.

    Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were his rivals. It was tough to come out on top with those players competing for top honors.

    Even though Rodriguez never won a major and only won eight times on the PGA tour, he was among the most popular players to compete in PGA history.

    He brought attention to Hispanic athletes and loved being in the spotlight. Rodriguez was as colorful an athlete as golf has ever known.

    But as a competitor, Rodriguez was merely pretty good. He deserves a spot in the "Hall of the Very Good," but not necessarily the Hall of Fame.

Lanny Wadkins

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    Lanny Wadkins had some memorable moments throughout his golfing career.

    Perhaps the most notable part of his career was his Ryder Cup play. He was 20-11-3 in the international competition, ranking just below all-time greats Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper.

    On the tour, Wadkins was a very good player, winning the 1977 PGA Championship. That was his only major victory.

    He won 20 times on the PGA tour.

    He was a hard-working player who earned everything he got, but as a Hall of Famer, he's a bare-minimum type.