Lorena Ochoa is returning to the desert, and what a party it will be at the Chevron Championship, where she will be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame for the first time. The LPGA has announced that the 10-year rule that kept Ochoa out of the Hall of Fame has been abolished by the tour’s Hall of Fame committee, as Golfweek originally reported.
To be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame, players must earn 27 points and play for ten years. Before retiring in 2010, Ochoa had accumulated 37 points in seven years.
In a statement, Beth Daniel, an LPGA Hall of Famer and member of the LPGA Hall of Fame Committee, said, “The Hall of Fame Committee wanted to understand why the 10-year limit was originally imposed, so we talked to the other Hall of Famers about the explanation.”
“I chatted with Carol Mann just before she died. Carol was president of the LPGA at the time the regulation was implemented, and she explained that it was implemented because the Tour wanted players to remain playing in order to keep the attention on the Tour. I believe we’ve seen that the Tour is now strong enough that that criteria is no longer necessary, so the committee decided to remove it. More power to you if you get into the Hall of Fame in less than ten years. For that reason, we shouldn’t keep you out of the Hall of Fame.”
Nancy Lopez, a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, informed Ochoa of the news.
“Getting Nancy’s call was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ochoa, who was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, remarked, “She is a person I admire a lot.”
“I was in my backyard when the call came in. It began as a casual conversation about how my family and children are doing. Then she announced that she had some wonderful news to share. My first reaction was that it had something to do with my foundation. I couldn’t make a guess. When she informed me, I was taken aback and impacted in ways I had never expected. I took several laps around the garden and laughed out loud for several minutes. After calming down from the thrill, I drove off to pick up my kids from school. After that, I called my parents, who were both delighted and astonished.”
In addition, all 13 LPGA founders, including local resident Shirley Spork, will be inducted into the LPGA’s hall of fame in an honorary capacity. Only five of the 13 founders have been inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Bettye Danoff, Helen Detweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, and Spork will now be admitted into the Hall of Fame.
The tour will now award one point for an Olympic gold medal, retroactively awarding a point to Inbee Park of 2016 and Nelly Korda of 2020.
The LPGA Hall of Fame is the most difficult to enter of any sports hall of fame. There are currently 25 entrants.