Planet Golf — 10 June 2016 by Jim Street
Davies still seeking two points for HOF

SAMMAMISH, Wa. – Now that Inbee Park has met all of the criteria to become  the newest member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, Laura Davies returns to the top of the list among the closest contenders.

Again.

The expression “so close, yet so far away” doesn’t do justice to what Davies has endured over the past 15 LPGA seasons.

The Wegman’s Rochester Invitational victory in 2001 put Davies two points away from meeting all of the LPGA Hall of Fame requirements. But she’s been stuck on 25 points ever since and at or near the top of the HOF waiting list.

Park is the fourth player since Davies’ last win to reach HOF status. Annika Sorenstam, (2003), Karri Webb (’05) and Se Ri Pak (’07) preceded Park. The nine years between Pak and Park is the second-longest stretch in LPGA history without a Hall of Fame qualifier.

Davies still needs either two regular tour wins or one major, like the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship being played at Sahalee Country Club this weekend, to make it.

When the LPGA Hall of Fame qualifications were re-set in 1967, players were required to win at least 30 tournaments and five majors, 35 tournaments and one major, or 40 tournaments. The criteria was changed for the third time in 1999.

Players now must have 10 years of experience, have at least 27 points under a system that awards one point each for victories, player-of-the-year award or scoring title, and two points for winning a major championship.

Davies, 53, has far more than 10 years of experience, won 16 times, was the LPGA Player of the Year in 1996, and has won four majors, including the 1987 U.S. Open. That’s a total of 25 points.

So close, yet so far away.

“It’s a tough club to get into,” Davies said Friday after shooting a second-round 2-over 73 for a two-day total of 150 — one over the cut line.  “That’s why I want to be in it. I think it’s the toughest Hall of Fame in the world to get into. But you know what? I’m trying. I’m trying really hard. I just can’t score at the moment. From tee to green I’m fine. But oh those putts. I’m just not putting well and that’s the name of the game.

“I missed the cut today by one shot,” she added. “I have missed six cuts this year and all of them have been by one shot. I just can’t get the breaks. But to win tournaments you need to be doing better than just making cuts.”

Davis can recall several tournaments in the past 15 years that she could and probably should have won.

“I have thrown away four chances,” she said. “One time I had someone hole an eagle putt on the last hole to beat me by one shot. Another time, I had a triple-bogey on the last hole in a tournament in Florida and lost by one.”

Those are another two points she could have had and this story wouldn’t be written. But the what-ifs don’t end there.

“It might sound like sour grapes, because I enjoyed playing in Europe, but when I was playing my best and winning I didn’t play as much over here as I probably should have,” the Coventry, England native said. “If had it to do all over again I probably would have played more on the LPGA Tour.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that if I had played a full schedule in America for the 10 or 15 years when I was at the top of my game, then I would have gotten those two wins I need, but I didn’t do it.”

Two points. Just two more points.

Davies admits that chasing the points that have eluded her for so long might be a pipedream. While the tank that was once full of confidence is running low, it still is not empty.

“I still think I am good enough to win,” she said. “I feel like one day, if I hole some putts, I might be able to win again. That’s why I’m still here. To win again would be unbelievable because it has been so long. That’s why I keep going, really. I want to keep trying to do it.”

So where does she go from here?

“I’ll keep plugging along,” she said. “What else am I going to do? There’s nothing else I want to do. I have that ultimate goal of either winning a major or two regular tournaments. That would give me the two points I need. It’s a pipedream now because it’s been so long since I won.”

But she still believes that dreams do come true.

The leading Hall of Fame contenders:

Player                          Wins                     Majors              Awards                    Total Points

Laura Davies               16 (16 points)     4 (8 points)          POY 1996 (1 point)            25

Yani Tseng                    10 (10 points)     5 (10 points)        POY 2010 & 2011              23

Vare 2011 (3 points)

Cristie Kerr                    16 (16 points)     2 (4 points)          N/A                                      20

Suzann Pettersen          13 (13 points)     2 (4 points)          N/A                                      17

Stacy Lewis                      9 (9 points)          2 (4 points)        POY ’12 & ’14                    17

Vare ’13 & ‘14 (4 points)

Lydia Ko                             10 (10 points)     2 (4 points)        POY 2015 (1 point)           15

 

 

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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