Lorena Ochoa has intimated on multiple occasions that there would come a time, while she was still young enough to have and enjoy a family, that she would think about retiring from golf. In fact, just last November at her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, she said golf was no longer the most important thing in her life – she was getting married the next month, after all.
It looks like the time has come.
Tuesday on her official Web site lorenaochoa.com a post on the home page stated: “Lorena announces her retirement from the LPGA tour. She’ll discuss her plans Friday”.
The short, somewhat stunning announcement was confirmed by the LPGA Tour. On Friday, in Mexico, the world’s No. 1-ranked women’s golfer will explain why she’s walking away from the sport at age 28.
The natural speculation is that Ochoa is pregnant. We’ll find out on Friday. But whether she is or isn’t, she already has three new kids. When she married Andres Conesa Labastida (the CEO of Aeromexico), a 40-year-old divorcee, in December, three kids from his previous marriage came with the deal.
Family has always played a pivotal role in Ochoa’s life and she has said she wanted to have one of her own, so while the announcement of her retirement seems sudden, it really isn’t shocking.
In each of the last two seasons she played in just 22 events, and had hinted that the travel demands of the LPGA Tour were wearing on her.
The wear and tear showed in her play last season, where despite winning her fourth consecutive LPGA Player of the Year Award, she wasn’t quite the same player, struggling for much of the season off the tee box and with her putter. She posted three wins and 13 top-10s after averaging seven wins and just over 19 top-10s the previous three seasons. In addition, she won just a shade more than half of the prize money as she had in the least successful of her previous three seasons.
This season Ochoa had played in all four of the official LPGA events, struggling in the first three before contending during the first three rounds of the LPGA’s first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship early this month. A disappointing final round relegated her to fourth place, seven strokes behind winner Yani Tseng.
Despite playing just seven full seasons on Tour, Ochoa ranks third all-time, behind Annika Sorenstam ($22,573,192) and Karrie Webb ($15,431,896), in career earnings with $14,817,846. Her 27 wins tie her for 19th all-time. Two of those wins were majors – the 2007 British Open and the 2008 Kraft Nabisco.