Meanwhile her teacher, former TOUR player Rafael Alarcon, talked earlier this week about what he worked on during the off-season with Ochoa and why he was only a little bit surprised by her 11-shot victory at Singapore Sunday.
Alarcon has changed Ochoas alignment on short-game shots from open to square to promote better plane and a shorter swing. And he has insisted she make her head more still while keeping the putter lower on the through swing.
The scary part for the rest of the LPGA is Lorena was unhappy with her wedge play at Singapore. The putting changes, though, appeared to kick in immediately. Her next three-putt in 2008 will be her first.
By the way, Ochoa had a new, PING, milled Redwood ZB putter in the bag at Singapore along with a PING GT 15 degree 3-wood.
To be sure, Alarcon wields a lot of influence with Ochoa. Among other things, he has convinced her to cut back from 25 events to 22 or 23 this year to ensure more balance in her life and time with her friends and family. Speaking of which, Ochoa will attend the wedding of her sister, Daniela, Friday in Guadalajara.
And the answer to inquiring minds is, no, she will not be part of the service. We do not have bridesmaids in Mexico, Ochoa said, when asked.
Ochoa will want to be careful not to practice too much on the short game. Quality, says Adam Scott, is more important than quantity.
You need to have quality practices always, Scott said recently. Hitting 50 three-footers, thinking about them properly, is better than hitting 500 and going through the motions of smacking three-footers in the hole.
To practice the short game a lot is a good thing, I think. But you need to be concentrating and know when youre messing around. For me, you start fooling around when youve had enough practice, start doing silly shots and having fun. And thats probably the time to go home for the day.
Zach Johnsons Masters defense at Augusta National is begins five weeks from Thursday and already the 2007 champion is being reminded of how tough that defense will be.
Specifically, Johnson was asked what shots at Augusta National prey on his mind before he even begins his round.
Well I think the first tee shot at Augusta on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is one that you always think about, he said. Outside of that, it is very much pin-based.
I think one shot for me, I mean, I think'I dont know why, I might be the only one. I think one of the hardest holes day-in and day-out is No. 4. There is no water. There is no hazard really. But that front left pin placement, you know, even with a 4-iron in your hand, its exceptionally difficult.
Others? The top right pin placement at No. 6, Johnson said, plus the tee ball at No. 12 and the front right at No. 16.
Easily the most interesting part of that answer was the last four holes Johnson singled out are the four par 3s at Augusta National.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Defending champion Mark Calcavecchia opened with a 75 at last years PODS Championship. It was the highest first round score by an eventual winner since Jeff Sluman at Tucson in 1997..Scott Verplank tees off Thursday at PODS with a string of 27 straight rounds of par or better. The PGA TOUR record is 52 held by Tiger Woods. That run began in 2000 and ended in 2001.
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