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.