Davies might allow name on Hall of Fame ballot

  • Article by: AP GOLF WRITER
  • Updated: May 31, 2013 - 4:05 PM

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — 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 star from England 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. Those numbers are misleading, however. She has played a limited LPGA Tour because Davies 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 over 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," 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. She received 52 percent of the vote, elected because of the 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 likely would easily clear the 65 percent threshold.

Whatever she decides, Davies won't 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."

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LONG AND SHORT OF IT: The LPGA Tour was quick to announce last week that it would go along with the new rule that bans anchored strokes, even though a few of its players use the long putters.

One of them is Mo Martin, who has used a broom-handle putter anchored to the chest from the day she first learned to play. Martin grew up with scoliosis, though not to the same degree as Stacy Lewis. She didn't have to wear a brace or have surgery.

"I was 6 years old," Martin said. "My dad wanted me to play a sport for life, and he thought the long putter would spare my back. And if there was a stink about them, he thought it might be an advantage."

Martin said she was frustrated that the R&A and USGA proposed and adopted the new rule, though she won't fight it. Like others, she has until 2016 to change.

"I based my career on it, and now they're telling me I can't use it," she said. "But I have respect for the USGA and R&A, and I'll go along with what they say. The frustrating part is the stigma — people who can't putt have to go to a long putter."

What puzzled Martin was how "anchoring" became part of golf's vernacular during this debate.

"Anchoring didn't come up until the belly putter came along," she said. "No one ever referred to anchoring with the long putter. It was always the broom stick or the long putter. Because the end of the club wasn't stuck into your body."

Martin has used a short putter in competition. She was in a putting slump a few years ago on the Symmetra Tour and decided to mix it up by going to a conventional putter.

"I used it in competition and shot 69," she said. "Someone in the gallery saw me and came out and said, 'You're a great putter.'"

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U.S. OPEN QUALIFYING: Matteo Manassero and Boo Weekley qualified for the U.S. Open by winning on separate tours. Manassero earned an exemption by winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, while Weekley's win at Colonial moved him into the top 60 in the world.

That means 78 players are exempt from qualifying, the highest number to earn exemptions since 80 players in 2006. That includes 2010, when the 78 players who didn't have to qualify included Tom Watson and Vijay Singh, who were given special invitations.

Even with half the field qualifying, it's still the most "open" of the major championships. Seventeen players already made it through section qualifying in Europe (12 players) and Japan (5 players). That leaves 61 spots still available.

Still be to be determined is how many spots will be dispersed in sectional qualifiers across the United States on Monday. The USGA will have to leave a couple of spots available for players (if any) who move into the top 60 by the week of the U.S. Open. On the bubble are Jimmy Walker (No. 62) and Byron Nelson winner Sang-moon Bae (No. 65), along with Charles Howell III (No. 68).

One player who qualified and will not be at Merion on June 13-16 is David Lynn of England. He is exempt as being top 60 in the world, but has told the USGA he will not be playing because of a vacation he already booked.

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CHANGE OF DIVERSION: Laura Davies stayed last week with the rest of the LPGA Tour in Atlantis Resort with its large casino. For those wondering how she ever pulled herself away to get to the golf course, Davies had a surprise.

"I don't like casinos. I don't go anymore," she said. "I'd rather bet on the horses and football. I'll walk through it to get to breakfast. And I might go in one night this week." Why did she give up on the casinos? The answer was vintage Davies.

"I don't win anymore," she said.

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DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth tied for seventh at the Colonial and now has $905,873, the equivalent of No. 51 on the PGA Tour money list. The 19-year-old Texan, who started the season with no status on tour, is a lock to have a full PGA Tour card when the 2013-14 season starts in October. But he can't participate in the FedEx Cup playoffs unless he was to win a tournament. ... Matt Kuchar has agreed to play in the French Open, two weeks before the British Open. ... Caroline Powers of Michigan State has been selected to receive the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to the female college golfer who has at least a 3.2 GPA and has a scoring average of 78.0 or better while playing in at least 50 percent of her team's tournaments.

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STAT OF THE WEEK: South Africa has seven of the top 10 players in the Presidents Cup standings.

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FINAL WORD: "Golf is a funny game. It comes and goes. Sometimes it seems like the harder you try, the further away it gets." — Geoff Ogilvy.

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