Rule Change Sees Lorena Ochoa Inducted Into The LPGA Hall Of Fame

The lifting of the 10-year playing requirement finally allows the former World No.1 to receive the honour

Lorena Ochoa takes part in the First Tee ceremony at the 2019 Augusta National Women's Amateur
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The LPGA Hall of Fame committee has announced a major change to its qualifying criteria - and one of the immediate beneficiaries is Lorena Ochoa.

The Mexican had been denied entry to the LPGA Hall of Fame because of its 10-year playing requirement. Ochoa had a relatively short career in the game, with an eight-year professional career from 2002 to 2010, but her dominance during that time was unparalleled. Ochoa enjoyed 27 LPGA Tour wins in a five-year period between 2004 and 2009, while she only missed six cuts throughout her LPGA Tour career. She also won two Majors - the 2007 Women's British Open and the 2008 ANA Inspiration (now the Chevron Championship). 

Ochoa exceeded the necessary Hall of Fame points for eligibility by 10, earning 37 in her Tour career. As well as that, Ochoa also met the requirement of winning at least one Major or a season-ending award. However, until now, the 10-year rule prevented her induction. That's changed with the lifting of the stipulation, meaning that a player who has been conspicuous by her absence in recent years will finally be inducted. Ochoa was notified of her induction by Nancy Lopez, who has been in the LPGA Hall of Fame since 1987, and Ochoa said of the decision: “It’s an honour to receive this recognition. It was unexpected and very special to me.” 

The 10-year rule was initially imposed to safeguard the viability of the LPGA Tour, but that was back in 1950. One of the committee, Beth Daniel, explained why it was finally time to lift the requirement. She said: “I think we have seen that the Tour is strong enough now that we don’t need that requirement. If you make the Hall of Fame in less than 10 years, more power to you. We shouldn’t keep you out of the Hall of Fame for that reason.”

Eight of the Tour’s 13 founder members will also be inducted. They are Alice Bauer, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith and the only surviving member not yet in the Hall of Fame, 94-year-old Shirley Spork. The remaining five have already been inducted.

A further change will see one Hall of Fame point awarded to the winner of the gold medal in the Olympics.

 

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.