The Samsung people conjured up a way to get Annika Sorenstam into their 20-player field. They created an exemption for Hall Of Fame members not already qualified. If you recall, they already used their sponsor’s exemption on Michelle Wie so since Annika is not near the top of the money list standings, she was going to miss the event at Bighorn in two weeks.
The Constructivist pointed out this opens up a can of worms for the future. Actually, the worms are already crawling across the floor. Annika is not the only player eligible for this exemption – Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster are also Hall-of-Famers who are not quite high enough on the money list to make the Samsung field. When you have multiple players eligible for this exemption, what is the criteria for picking one of them? Would they give this exemption to Annika every year? They’ve given the sponsor’s exemption to Wie the last two years – no reason to believe they wouldn’t repeat that here. Tell me when you find the official answer to those questions – Samsung’s website this year doesn’t even list how a player qualifies, much less how they pick which HOFer gets to play. According to TGC, to set the field you take the Top 20 on the money list minus the exempted players who aren’t in the Top 20. Annika, Wie and Bettina Hauert are those three, so the top 17 money list players make it. Hjorth, Pak and Stanford are in – Sarah Lee, Gulbis, Inkster and Webb are out. So Sarah is the player screwed by the last-minute change, since before the Annika exemption they put the top 18 in.
Samsung painted themselves into this corner by giving their sponsor’s exemption to Wie before it was known that Michelle wouldn’t deserve it. Maybe next year they should give the HOF exemption to Nancy Lopez – then they can honor the Hall Of Fame AND the fan favorite who can’t break 80 in one fell swoop.