Monday, November 9

Lorena Ochoa's Murky Hall-of-Fame Status

LORENA OCHOA WON 27 TOURNAMENTS, including two majors, in seven full seasons on the LPGA Tour. Ochoa also won Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy (for low scoring average) four times each.

Lorena Ochoa
(Pablo Lancaster-Jones)
Yet when GolfChannel.com's Randall Mell asked about her Hall-of Fame status late last week, Ochoa said: "I have no idea. I've heard no news. I did my best as a player, and it's not in my hands. I have no idea how the rules work or about any new changes or the possibility for me to be inducted."

How can this be?

For one thing, there are two different Halls to consider: the World Golf Hall of Fame and the LPGA Hall of Fame. The latter one is especially tough to enter. But if you're thinking like me, then a no-go or a lengthy delay for Ochoa is nutso.

Mell reported:
Remarkably, as of today, Ochoa still hasn't satisfied the LPGA Hall of Fame's rigorous criteria, even though she has far surpassed the demanding points-based requirements. Notably, Ochoa, 33, is happily retired and expecting her third child, a boy, in January. 
While Ochoa accumulated 37 Hall of Fame points, exceeding the 27 required, she did not meet the tour membership requirement for induction. LPGA Hall of Fame criteria state that inductees "must" have been an "active" member for 10 years to be eligible for induction. Ochoa was an active member for only seven full seasons before announcing her retirement early into her eighth season in 2010.
In fairness, the criteria and selection process for both Halls are apparently evolving. At the moment, there's more of a focus on tuning up the process at the World Golf Hall of Fame. That said, it's hard to fathom Ochoa not getting into both Halls -- and sooner rather than later.

Ochoa will be the hostess this week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City. Christina Kim is the defending champion.

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