SAN DIEGO (AP) Tiger Woods won't have to wait until he's 50 to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced changes to the criteria and the selection process, starting with the age limit being reduced from 50 to 45. Players become eligible if they are 45 in the year of the induction ceremony.
The next induction is in 2021. Woods turns 45 in January.
''We believe these changes will enhance the Hall of Fame in many ways and bring greater attention to the most deserving players at a time in their careers when they are still competing at the highest level,'' said Greg McLaughlin, the CEO of the World Golf Foundation.
Woods is a shoo-in. The criteria include 15 victories on a player's home tour or two majors. Woods has 82 victories on the PGA Tour, along with five on the European Tour and victories on the Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. He also has those 15 majors.
Woods figures to have company on the ballot. Also eligible for the 2021 induction class are three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood, and LPGA major champions Liselotte Neumann, Dottie Pepper and Jane Geddes.
The Hall of Fame originally had an age limit of 40, which is why Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were inducted years ago. It later was moved to 50. The criteria also allow for anyone three years removed from retirement, always vague for a sport in which no one ever really retires.
Also, the Veterans category has been eliminated and Lifetime Achievement is now called ''contributor.''
Meanwhile, the selection process no longer includes a majority of golf administrators voting.
Ten media members and six Hall of Famers will be part of the nominating committee that narrows the list of candidates to four men, four women and two contributors. Eight media members join seven administrators and four Hall of Famers in the final selection process. No more than four can be part of any induction class, and they must get 75% of the vote.