The only thing keeping Laura Davies out of the World Golf Hall of Fame is her stubborn desire to make it on merit.
Now, the 49-year-old English star is starting to reconsider.
Davies wants to get in through the LPGA Tour’s strict criteria of 27 points accumulated primarily through wins and majors. She has been stuck on 25 points since her last LPGA Tour win in 2001 in Rochester.
However, those numbers are misleading. Davies has played a limited LPGA Tour because she has supported the Ladies European Tour for nearly three decades, winning 45 times in the 307 events she has played.
She is eligible to be placed on the international ballot of the World Golf Hall of Fame, but has instructed officials to leave her name off.
“Maybe it’s time to buckle and say: ‘Yeah.’ Obviously, I’ve always wanted to be in, but I wanted it to be my way,” Davies said in the Bahamas. “I’ve read articles where people have said it’s nuts that I’m not in, but that’s being mean to the World Golf Hall of Fame. People should know it’s been me that’s been saying no. I’ve always had the dream of getting in the LPGA Hall of Fame by playing my way in.”
The feeling is that Davies would have had well more than the 27 points needed to qualify through the LPGA standards if she had stuck primarily to an LPGA schedule because she gave up about 10 tournaments a year for 20 years during the height of her powerful game.
“She did that to support her tour and you can’t fault her for that,” US golfer Juli Inkster said. “I just think she represents women’s golf as an icon. Laura is worldwide golf. She’s a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame for what she’s done for golf, women’s golf and European golf. There’s no reason she shouldn’t be in.”
Told that Davies was thinking about allowing her name to be on the international ballot, LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said: “It couldn’t be early enough.”
Davies would still have to allow her name to be on the ballot — the last woman elected that way was Ayako Okamoto of Japan in the class of 2005. Okamoto only received 52 percent of the vote, but was elected because of a loophole that takes one player with at least 50 percent of the vote if no one gets the minimum 65 percent.
If Davies were to allow her name to go on the international ballot, she would likely easily clear the 65 percent threshold.
Whatever she decides, Davies will not be giving up on golf anytime soon.
“I don’t think I’ll ever retire,” she said. “I’ll just keep going. I’m enjoying it. I love it. There’s nothing I’d rather do.”