Lorena Has Begun Setting Her Own Course

By Associated PressApril 22, 2008, 4:00 pm
Of all the trophies Lorena Ochoa has collected since her magical hands first touched a golf club, one of her favorite mementos is a photograph taken when she was 12, standing beside a teenager who even then looked like a giant in the game.
Her head doesnt quite reach the shoulders of 17-year-old Tiger Woods.
They posed in 1993 after Ochoa won her age division for the fourth straight year at the Junior World Golf Championship. They did not see each other again until last year at the Golf Writers Association of America dinner in Augusta, Ga., where Ochoa and Woods were honored as players of the year.
Woods eyes lit up when he saw the Mexican phenom, and he wrote an extensive message on the photo before signing it.
Now they are linked by more than just a snapshot.
As Woods continues to rule his sport, Ochoa has emerged as a force in womens golf. She has won five of her six tournaments this year, including a major, by a combined 37 shots, raising questions about who is the more dominant player.
Thats something thats out of my hands, Ochoa said. Thats more the fans and the media point of view. But to be able to put my name next to him is always an honor, and Im happy with that.
Each seemed destined for greatness at an early age.
Woods learned the game before he could walk, mesmerized by his father swinging a golf club as Woods sat in a high chair. Ochoa was climbing trees at Guadalajara Country Club when she was 5 and broke both wrists after falling some 15 feet. She was in a cast from her shoulders to her fingers for three months.
They said the doctor gave me magical wrists, some magic in my hand, Ochoa once said.
Since setting an NCAA record at Arizona by winning eight straight tournaments as a sophomore, the 26-year-old Mexican has hit her stride and is running side-by-side with Woods.
Both are No. 1 in the world rankings, with more than double the points of the next-best player.
Woods skipped the PGA TOURs first two events in Hawaii, then began his season with an eight-shot victory at Torrey Pines. Ochoa skipped the LPGA Tours first two events in Hawaii, then made her 2008 debut in Singapore and won by 11 strokes.
Woods won four straight times to start the season, extending a streak that began in September. Ochoa won her fourth straight start last week in Orlando, Fla., the first woman in 45 years to win four consecutive events on the schedule. Next week in Tulsa, Okla., she can tie the LPGA record for consecutive victories held by Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez.
Ochoa has won 19 times since the start of the 2006 season, including the last two majors. Woods has won 18 times on the PGA TOUR since 2006 with three majors, although he has played 20 fewer events.
The biggest difference between them'at least this year'is their quest for a Grand Slam.
Woods was the runner-up, three strokes back, at the Masters, ending his bid before it could get started. A week earlier, Ochoa ran off three straight birdies around the turn to pull away and win the Kraft Nabisco Championship by five shots.
It was her second straight major, having won the Womens British Open last summer at St. Andrews.
I guess right now Im a little bit ahead because I won the last two, Ochoa said.
Perhaps more parallels await.
Ochoa will be going for her third straight major at the LPGA Championship the first week of June. Pat Bradley in 1986 was the last woman to win three straight majors, while Woods is the only professional'male or female'to capture four in a row.
What can stop her?
Id like to believe nothing and nobody, Ochoa said after winning the Nabisco. I know this is just the beginning of the year. I know I put some high goals this year, but I want to try to keep going.
It was only three years ago that similar comparisons were made between Woods and Sorenstam, who dominated womens golf for five years. Sorenstam won six of her first eight tournaments in 2005, including the first two majors, by wearing down the field with her consistent, precise, robotic play.
Ochoa brings far more sizzle, not to mention power, and it shows in how badly she is crushing her competition. Ochoa twice has won tournaments by 11 shots this year.
At the Safeway International outside Phoenix, the strongest field in womens golf, she won by seven strokes.
Everything that shes done this year has been phenomenal, Brittany Lincicome said.
Even more remarkable is a graciousness rarely found in an athlete so ruthless.
Ochoa is proud of her heritage and her people, and often goes to the maintenance barn at golf tournaments to visit with the grounds crew, most of whom are Latino. She spent a half-hour with them at the Kraft Nabisco in Palm Desert, Calif., helping them cook breakfast, talking soccer and thanking them for their work.
When she closed out last season with a $1 million payday, Ochoa pledged $100,000 for flood victims in Mexico and set aside a large amount to help build schools for needy children in her town.
LPGA officials still rave about last year at the Ginn Tribute, which honored the women who founded the LPGA Tour in 1950. Some of the founders asked for Ochoas autograph, and only after signing did she go back and ask for theirs. She also had her picture taken with them.
To keep for memories, Ochoa said.
No doubt, she will treasure it along with the photo with Woods, both in their own way reminding her of an amazing journey.
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.