Thumb injury to sideline Park, delay Hall qualification

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DALY CITY, Calif. – Inbee Park’s injured thumb is expected to keep her out of action for a month and push back her qualification for the LPGA Hall of Fame until June.

Park withdrew from the Swinging Skirts Classic this week, citing injury to a ligament in her left thumb. Her management team says she likely won't return until the Kingsmill Championship May 19-22.

At the end of last season, Park met the 27-point LPGA Hall of Fame requirement with the one point she won claiming the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. However, she needed to make 10 starts this year to meet the 10-year tour membership requirement for induction. She isn’t expected to meet that now until she tees it up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee outside of Seattle June 9-12.

The LPGA doesn’t actually host an induction ceremony when players qualify for its Hall of Fame. A news conference will be scheduled when Park qualifies, and the tour also will finance a Hall of Fame party for her, as part of a long-standing tradition.

In the past, when an LPGA player qualified for induction, that player also automatically qualified for World Golf Hall of Fame induction. That player then joined the ceremony for the World Hall of Fame’s class of inductees. However, with the World Golf Hall of Fame announcing its own new female ballot and its own criteria for selection two years ago, Park, 27, isn’t immediately eligible for induction. While Park has met all the performance criteria for World Golf Hall of Fame induction, she won’t become eligible until she turns 50 or has been inactive from the tour for five years.