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Ochoa inducted to LPGA Hall of Fame after rule change

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Mexican legend Lorena Ochoa was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame on Tuesday after the tour lifted a 10-year requirement for players to be considered for enshrinement.

Ochoa won 27 LPGA titles, including two majors, but had been ineligible because her career only spanned 2003 to her 2010 retirement.

But the LPGA Hall of Fame committee dropped the 10-year requirement on Tuesday.

“It’s an honour to receive this recognition. It was unexpected and very special to me,” Ochoa said.

Hall-of-Famer and committee member Beth Daniel said the 10-year rule dated from the tour’s early days when it was felt players needed to play longer to support the LPGA.

“I think we’ve seen the tour is strong enough now that we don’t need that requirement, so the committee decided to do away with it,” Daniel said. “If you make the Hall of Fame in less than 10 years, more power to you. We shouldn’t keep you out of the Hall of Fame for
that reason.”

Ochoa, inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, won major titles at the 2007 Women’s British Open and 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

She was the 2003 LPGA Rookie of the Year and a four-time LPGA Player of the Year from 2006 to 2009, when she also won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.

Ochoa was world number one for 158 consecutive weeks, the longest total and consecutive weeks atop the rankings.

Ochoa was in her backyard when she received a call with the news.

“I was taken aback and I was very moved. Never imagined,” Ochoa said.

Former LPGA golfer Lorena Ochoa. PHOTO: AFP