The Hall has meaning for LPGA players

Updated: April 18, 2007, 11:00 AM ET
By Ron Sirak | Golf World

When it comes to Hall of Fame qualifying criteria, the LPGA has it right. It has an ironclad system that eliminates the popularity-contest factor from the equation and guarantees against inconsistencies, such as the selection of Tom Kite (19 PGA Tour victories and one major championship) and the exclusion of Doug Ford (19 victories, two majors). Make a case for both or neither, but don't choose one over the other because you liked one more.

The LPGA system also eliminates the scourge of modern sports: The attention deficit disorder that focuses on the present and blocks out the past. Kobe Bryant is great, but so were Michael Jordan, Julius Erving and Connie Hawkins before him -- even if today's generation doesn't always know who we're talking about. The LPGA's criteria respects the tour's elders.

Dottie Pepper
Doug Benc/Getty ImagesPepper is among those who failed to garner enough points to reach HOF status.
The LPGA system is all about the points. To gain entry, a player must win a major, the Vare Trophy or the Rolex Player of the Year award and accumulate 27 points, which are awarded as one for a win, two for a major title and one for a Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year award. After 10 full years of tour membership, a player with enough points can be inducted.

That said, there are some LPGA players who likely would have been voted into the Hall of Fame by now if a voting system were in place instead of a points system. Laura Davies' situation comes to mind because of her close call at last week's Ginn Open. She needs two more points to qualify. Although she has 20 LPGA victories, including four majors, her 47 international titles do not count. If her career ends before she qualifies, Davies will undoubtedly get in off the veterans committee ballot or the international ballot. Here are some other LPGA players who do not have the necessary points but would likely make the hall if voted on by writers.

Dottie Pepper: She won 17 LPGA events, including two major championships and would have added more if not for injuries. Pepper all but legitimized the Solheim Cup, bringing to it a passion that helped it gain a foothold with fans. She won tournaments in nine different seasons and appears on her way to being a successful broadcaster.

Hollis Stacy: She won 18 LPGA events and four majors, including three U.S. Women's Opens, the most difficult major to win. Stacy won at least one event for nine consecutive seasons at the height of the Nancy Lopez era. She also won the U.S. Girls' Junior three consecutive times.

Meg Mallon: Like Davies, Mallon may yet play her way into the Hall of Fame, but if not she deserves to be in it anyway. She has 18 LPGA victories and four majors, including two U.S. Women's Open titles 13 years apart. She has also played on eight Solheim Cup teams.

Davies, Pepper, Stacy and Mallon all have had careers better than Kite, yet they remain on the outside looking in. While they are four deserving souls, the LPGA is to be lauded for a Hall of Fame that would rather err on the side of greatness than on the side of mediocrity. We need more of that.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.