On Ochoa’s Retirement

With Lorena Ochoa’s “final” LPGA event, officials and observers are engaged in a collective hand-wringing over what the Tour will do in her absence. To be the contrarian, I actually think they won’t miss her. In spite of her considerable skills, Ochoa has never been the “face” of the LPGA. The recognizable faces belong to Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Christina Kim, Morgan Pressel, Natalie Gulbis and a few others. When I attended the LPGA’s Jamie Farr last year, the largest crowds followed those players—and especially Michelle Wie—not Ochoa.

To go even further out on a limb, I think it’s just possible that Ochoa’s retirement could be good for the LPGA if it leaves room at the top for the more recognizable faces. Nothing would be better for the LPGA than if Michelle Wie were to rise to the top as a player. Of course, Ochoa’s absence more likely results in the rise to the top of one of a group of Korean players who—to put it kindly—lack starpower.

So I think the worrying can cease. As much as I enjoyed watching her play, the LPGA Tour won’t miss Lorena Ochoa.

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2 thoughts on “On Ochoa’s Retirement”

  1. Well, I am amazed she is retiring.  I didn’t expect her to go to Annika’s age, I did expect an early retirement- but perhaps 3 more years, then she could have still had a small litter of kids- and not only would she have another 20-30 million socked away, but just a little while longer, and she might have assured herself to be spoken in the same sentance with Annika.  Regardless of skill and wins, she has just been around just a little too little to solidify her reputation for the ages.

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  2. Let’s hope she can do something here in Mexico to make golf more accessible. Apart from a few bad scattered public courses in the $40-$50 range, and a few public driving ranges, it’s only for the extremely rich here. Nothing like the twilight $6 park district course in Chicago I like.

    If it ever will get accessible here, some non-profit organizing entity (national golf association, Olympic committee, local governments, etc.) would need to make a substantial investment to make it happen. I sure hope it does happen, but I’m not holding my breath.

    On a side-note, of the few driving ranges here in Mexico City, they are all completely short-sided. Even among educated, upper-middle class professionals, almost none of them have ever played golf. They should be reaching out to the big companies for free employee outing days, etc. It’d cost them essentially nothing to do, but not surprisingly none seem to have the foresight to do this.

    I really wish I had the money to buy one of those ranges.

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