Lorena Ochoa Set to Retire From Golf
Lorena Ochoa said one month ago that she would retire when she started a family, but after a fourth place finish in the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago, she has now said she is stepping away from the game of golf almost completely. Ochoa announced today that she will play next weekend in the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico and will subsequently retire from the game of golf.
It isn't quite a complete retirement, as she has said she will still play in her own annual tournament every November (the second-to-last event of each LPGA season), and is open to playing one or two other events each season as she sees fit.
As Rick Reilly pointed out, it is certainly not uncommon (Anneka Sorenstam, Kim Clijsters) for a female athlete to leave the sport competitively to have a family, whereas men (Tiger Woods, Roger Federer) can do the same thing and barely miss a tournament.
That unfortunate imbalance aside, good for Ochoa. It's not surprising that she's eager to start a family - her career-long dedication towards charity work and generally sharing her gifts with others screams out "motherhood."
Some lament the loss of the LPGA's best player. While they are right that the loss of the tour's best player might cause it to lose a litte mainstream attention, it should otherwise grow now that a wide variety of players have just seen their chances of winning skyrocket.
There are numerous Korean players (led by the likes of Inbee Park and Song-Hee Kim), along with a diverse young field including Ai Miyazato, Anna Nordqvist, and American Paula Creamer, who could all be at the top of the pile now that Ochoa has stepped down.
The game will miss Lorena Ochoa, but there will be nothing but growth within the game in her absence, and the work she will do in charitable ventures and the joy she will get from her own family will be well worth it.