ELLEAIR, FLORIDA (AP) – Jin Young Ko calculates how many points she needs to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame every time she wins a tournament. It’s been a dream of hers since she began playing at the age of ten in South Korea, she added.
“Right now, I have 15 points,” Ko stated halfway into the Pelican Women’s Championship. It’ll be difficult, but I’ve just been playing for four years, so it’ll be a major accomplishment for me, and I believe I can do it.”
The LPGA Hall of Fame is the most difficult to enter of any sports hall of fame. There are currently 25 entrants. To be eligible, players must earn 27 points and play for ten years.
There are three Hall of Fame points on the line at next week’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, in addition to the $1.5 million on the line. Except for majors, which are worth two points, tournament triumphs are worth one point. Winners of the Vare Trophy and Player of the Year each receive one point. (The Vare Trophy is given to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season.)
Korda now has a 10-point lead over Ko in the POY race with one race remaining after winning the Pelican Women’s Championship.
Both Ko and Korda have four LPGA wins this season, with the young American winning both a major and an Olympic medal (which does not factor into the points system). Despite the fact that many may consider Korda’s season to be the most remarkable due to the weight of her titles, the LPGA’s objective scoring system allows little room for interpretation. And Ko still has a chance to win it outright.
Judy Rankin has stated that players originally opted to employ a scoring system to protect the award from becoming a popularity contest when it was first introduced in 1966. Stacy Lewis, a two-time Player of the Year, like it that way. Inbee Park feels the same way.
Mel Reid, on the other hand, is among those who would welcome the tour adopting a voting method similar to that used by the PGA Tour, stating that if she had to vote right now, she would choose Korda.
“I don’t mean any disrespect to Jin Young Ko,” Reid clarified. “She’s a fantastic player.” However, I believe that because of the pressures that Nelly faces as an American, I would vote for her. I believe she has handled it admirably.”
Of course, the Korda sisters have lofty ambitions, but when questioned earlier this week about the Hall of Fame, Jessica claimed it was not on her radar, pointing out how difficult it is to get 27 points. The idea that Lorena Ochoa isn’t in the LPGA Hall of Fame, according to the elder Korda, is “laughable.” Ochoa, who is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, received 37 points but retired before completing the required 10-year period.
“I believe we should concentrate on major tournaments,” Nelly stated. “The CME and the end-of-year Money List are always on my mind. Every year, that’s where my primary emphasis is.”
Since Juli Inkster in 1999, no American player has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Sei Young Kim, last year’s Player of the Year, said the Hall of Fame has been a long-term dream for him since he was a junior golfer.
“That is my greatest source of motivation,” she stated.
Lydia Ko leads the rankings with a score of 69.391. The top three players – Ko, Korda, and Park – are all ineligible for the Vare Trophy since they haven’t completed the needed number of rounds (70).
The Kiwi, on the other hand, came close to missing out on the Vare Trophy because she wasn’t in the Pelican’s lineup as of late last week. She would have been one round shy of 70 if it hadn’t been for that.
“I had no idea there was a minimum round count,” Ko explained. “I figured I’d played enough to be counted, and I figured the other three would as well.”
Ko has 19 Hall of Fame points despite never winning the Vare Trophy. She’d get to 20 with the Vare. Ko stated that winning the career Grand Slam is her most important objective, and that if she achieves it, the Hall of Fame will take care of itself.
The 24-year-old has stated her desire to retire at the age of 30 since the beginning of her LPGA career.
There’s still time to reach 27 points.
There’s a league and then there’s another league,” Ko explained. There’s a fantastic ladies’ club there.