In an effort to upgrade the event, tournament organizers decided to eliminate a criteria that has not been used in nine years--the option to offer an exemption to the U.S. Women's Amateur champion--and replace it with a spot for an active Hall of Famer.
Right now, there are 4 active Hall of Famers: Juli Inkster, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, and Se Ri Pak. I can see why this year they'd give Sorenstam the nod. In any case, there's a big problem for the future: the tournament organizers need to develop selection criteria for whom to invite if more than one active Hall of Famer fails to qualify by other means in a given year. Do you want to be the one to tell Juli Inkster why she wasn't selected?