Ochoa will retire after Morelia event

By Jay CoffinApril 23, 2010, 6:14 pm

Lorena Ochoa opened up Friday about her decision to retire, saying that her heart isn’t in golf anymore and that she desires to spend more time with her family and her foundation. She will compete in the Tres Marias Championship next week in Morelia, Mexico, and then retire, but she plans to continue to play annually in the LPGA’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational, held in November in Guadalajara.

“I want to retire as No. 1 and this was my third year there,” Ochoa, 28, said Friday at a news conference in Mexico City. “I want to say goodbye while I’m at home and I want to enjoy life that I couldn’t while playing golf.

“Ever since I started playing golf I always wondered how much I could handle. Now, I want to give time back to my family that I’ve not been able to spend with them. I’m leaving with a big smile, head up and happy with everything I’ve accomplished. Today is the most special day of my career.”

Said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan: “For nearly a decade, Lorena has represented the very best of the LPGA, both on and off the course. She did more than regularly win golf tournaments; she fully embraced her role as global ambassador for the sport, raising its stature not only in her beloved home country but around the world. Lorena has championed education for children and raised standards of support for her sponsors. She has lifted this sport and the LPGA, and I’m confident that she will continue to do so even as she transitions into the next phase of her life.”

Ochoa made her announcement on the third anniversary of her rise to No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. She knocked Annika Sorenstam from the top spot on April 23 of 2007. Ochoa's held the top spot for 157 consecutive weeks.

The first of Ochoa's 27 LPGA titles came at the Franklin American Mortgage Championship in Franklin, Tenn., in her second season on the tour in 2004. She was dominant over the 2006, '07 and '08 seasons, winning 21 titles. She broke through to win the first of her two major championships at St. Andrews at the Women's British Open in 2007. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in '08. Over seven-plus seasons on tour, Ochoa has won more than $14 million in career earnings. 

A 12-time winner at the University of Arizona, with an NCAA record eight consecutive victories and back-to-back NCAA Player of the Year titles, Ochoa was named the LPGA's Louise Suggs' Rolex Rookie of the Year in 2003. She has won four Rolex Player of the Year titles (2006-09) and four Vare trophies for low scoring average (2006-09). Her last victory came at last October's Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville. Ala.

While Ochoa has met the points criteria for qualification for the LPGA Hall of Fame, she is in the beginning of her eighth season on tour. She needs 10 seasons of active play to fulfill requirements for Hall of Fame induction. However, if she doesn't meet the requirement, she can still gain entrance through the LPGA Hall of Fame veterans committee five years after becoming inactive. The veterans committee critieria states that Hall of Fame nominees 'should' have 10 years of active service but does not require it. A player must be nominated by a two-thirds vote of the veterans committee to be considered for induction. Nominees must then be voted in by 75 percent of LPGA members who respond by ballot.

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.