It's time to ditch protocol and give Davies Hall of Fame status

News & Tour

The LPGA must change their eligibility criteria for the Hall of Fame, writes Keel Timmins, because very few are more deserving than Dame Laura Davies

Eighty-seven wins worldwide, four major championships, a Senior Grand Slam and 12 Solheim Cup appearances. Yet Dame Laura Davies still doesn’t qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.

How is this possible? Well, it’s down to the LPGA’s notoriously difficult Hall of Fame qualification criteria. Entrance to the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame is limited to LPGA Tour members who:

  • Must be/have been an “active” LPGA Tour member for 10 years.
  • Must have won/been awarded at least one of the following – an LPGA major championship, the Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year honours; and
  • Must have accumulated a total of 27 points, which are awarded as follows – one point for each LPGA official tournament win, two points for each LPGA major tournament win and one point for each Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year honour earned.

Davies is currently on 25 points, two points short of making the HOF. Her wins the US Senior Women’s Open and Senior LPGA Championship, didn’t count to the points total because the LPGA has yet to acknowledge them as official tournaments.

To put it simply, Davies is one of the most successful players in the history of the women’s game, and undoubtedly of the best players to have ever played on the LPGA Tour.

It’s a travesty that the LPGA has yet to acknowledge this.

Effectively, Davies has been penalised for plying her trade across the globe, whether it be in Europe, Japan or Australia, rather than just the United States.

She has 45 wins on the LET, 20 on the LPGA, eight on the ALPG Tour and seven on the LPGA of Japan Tour – she’s the very definition of a global player, which is all the more ironic give that the LPGA brands itself as ‘A Global Tour Like No Other’.

ShipCo

Davies even won the British Open in 1986 at Royal Birkdale before it became a major championship on the LPGA. She can feel incredibly hard done by, and maybe that’s why, at 54-years-old, Davies continues to play an almost full schedule on the LPGA: to see if she can squeeze out a further two wins to join the likes of Annika Sorenstam, Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Karrie Webb in the elusive club.

Who can blame her?

And she very nearly got within one earlier this year when she finished second behind Inbee Park at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

But Davies isn’t the only victim of the LPGA’s ridiculous criteria.

Lorena Ochoa amassed 30 professional wins – 27 on the LPGA – in just eight years before retiring in 2010 at 28-years-old. The Mexican spent an LPGA record 158 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings, yet despite picking up enough points, she doesn’t qualify for the LPGA HOF.

Why? She decided to bow at the top of the game, when she was still the best player in the world, to focus on her foundation and start a family. As a result, because she didn’t spend a minimum of 10 years on tour, the early retirement cost her a spot in the HOF.

This just proves that there is a fundamental problem with the LPGA Hall of Fame and its criteria. It’s time to scrap the qualification process, and judge each player’s case individually.

In the instance of Davies and Ochoa, the answer is staring Mike Whan and friends right in the face.

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