Ochoa to play 1 more tournament before retiring
A tearful Lorena Ochoa said she will play one more tournament before she retires, happy to end her career at the top of her game and looking forward to having children.
The 28-year-old Mexican star said Friday she will compete in the Tres Marias Championships next week in Morelia, Mexico. She also plans to annually play in the LPGA's Lorena Ochoa Invitational each November in Guadalajara, and left the door slightly open for competing in a few other select tournaments.
The No. 1 player in women's golf confirmed on her website Tuesday she is leaving the game.
``I wanted to go out when I was on top, and I know this is the right time to leave,'' Ochoa said when explaining her decision at a Friday news conference.
In a 12-minute speech, a teary-eyed Ochoa repeatedly choked up and had to stop on a number of occasions to compose herself.
``There are so many things that I will miss and this has not been an easy decision to make,'' Ochao said. ``But this is my moment and I dreamed of it this way.''
She got married in December and said she plans to have children, but she said she is not currently pregnant
Ochoa's announcement comes three years to the day after she achieved the No. 1 ranking, replacing Annika Sorenstam. She leaves the tour with 27 victories, two major titles and nearly $15 million in earnings.
``When I started to play golf 23 years ago, I had the dream to become the best player in the world, to win many tournaments,'' she said, ``and this is why now is the best time to leave, full of great memories that I am going to share with my family for the rest of my life.''
Last year, she won her fourth consecutive LPGA Tour player of the year award. In 2008, she joined only three players who have won four consecutive scheduled events.
However, she only joined the LPGA Tour in 2003 after playing college golf at Arizona, meaning she falls short of the 10-year playing requirement to be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
LPGA vice president Jane Geddes said Ochoa deserved to be in the Hall of Fame and could still make it.
She said she could be considered by a veterans committee, which has less stringent requirements. To meet the 10-year requirement, she would have to play at least 10 tournaments a year for another three seasons.
``If she doesn't come back and play and finish up those 10 years - and she can still can do that - she would be eligible in the veterans category,'' Geddes said. ``There is no doubt that she is a Hall of Fame player.''