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Whan: LPGA Hall of Fame criteria to stay same

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PHOENIX – LPGA commissioner Mike Whan welcomes the World Golf Hall of Fame’s new criteria for induction of women separate from the LPGA Hall of Fame, but his tour isn’t considering adopting the new criteria.

While Whan wonders about the difficulty of meeting the 27-point requirement for LPGA Hall of Fame induction, the tour will stand by its point system.

Whan knows the value the game’s greats place on the high standard that point system represents.

“I kind of feel like the 27 points sometimes is us being our own worst enemy, that it’s us being tough on ourselves,” Whan said. “Some players aren’t even getting reviewed as a result, but I know for a lot of LPGA current and former players, the 27 points is still a big deal.”

To become an LPGA Hall of Famer, a woman must accumulate 27 points. A tournament victory is worth one point. A major championship is worth two points. The Rolex Player of the Year Award is worth one point and so is the Vare Trophy.

Not only must a player have earned 27 points to qualify, she must also have won a major championship or the Rolex Player of the Year Award or the Vare Trophy.

The new World Golf Hall of Fame criteria isn’t as difficult a standard to meet to become eligible for induction. A woman must have won 15 events on tours with Rolex world ranking points or have won at least two majors.

Whan has no issue with two Hall of Fame pathways for women.

“This way, we can still recognize, if you will, the 27-point club,” Whan said. “At the same time, for the world stage, I think it’s really important for these women to be recognized and to be on that stage. It’s not only good for them, it’s good for us and the growth of the game.

“So, I think, it’s having the best of both worlds. We still recognize the importance of the 27-point club, but it doesn’t stop us from having quality players being reviewed at the nomination stage.”

Laura Davies, Meg Mallon and Dottie Pepper are short of the points required for the LPGA Hall of Fame, but they will all become instantly eligible for nomination for the 2015 induction.

So will Jane Blalock, who earned exactly 27 points in her LPGA career but did not meet the LPGA Hall of Fame requirement that a player win a major or POY Award or Vare Trophy. Blalock, a controversial figure in her time, was suspended by the tour after a review of her disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard in an event in 1972, but she filed a lawsuit and won a temporary injunction to keep playing. Her suit ultimately led to the LPGA being found in violation of antitrust laws. Though Blalock is eligible for LPGA Hall of Fame induction through the Veteran’s Committee, it hasn’t happened.