No 1 Ochoa looking to marriage family golf

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2009, 9:18 pm

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP)—Lorena Ochoa is having one of the best years of herlife, and it has nothing to do with being ranked No. 1 in golf.

She’s getting married next month in her hometown, which will be a boon forMexico’s edition of Hola magazine. Her engagement was front-page news in everypaper in the country. But the pending marriage hasn’t helped the struggling U.S.LPGA Tour, which needs a dominant star.

Ochoa’s won only three times—compared to 21 times in the previous threeseasons including two majors—and didn’t contend in any of the four majors.Jiyai Shin of South Korea is about to take the player of the year award, whichOchoa has claimed three straight times.

Ochoa finished tied for sixth on her home course last weekend at the LorenaOchoa Invitational. Michelle Wie won her first U.S. LPGA event and earned muchof the attention at the Guadalajara Country Club.

“For me, personally, it’s been a better year (than the last three),” Ochoasaid at her tournament. “If you are talking about the results on the golfcourse, for sure it’s not the best year for me. But what’s important is I amhappy.”

In Mexico, she’s the country’s highest profile athlete—except for footballstars Rafa Marquez of Barcelona or Cuauhtemoc Blanco of the Chicago Fire —andexpected to win every tournament.

But Ochoa has been candid. She is traveling more, playing less and has moreoff-course obligations, which include her charity foundation. She’s alsoplanning to move from Guadalajara to Mexico City after her marriage to AndresConesa, the CEO of Aeromexico airline—one of her sponsors.

Conesa has three children from a previous marriage, so she’ll step into aready-made family.

“Personally, it’s more important the things that I do outside the golfcourse,” she said. “And that’s been my main focus right now.”

Ochoa may follow the path of former No. 1 Annika Sorenstam, who married thisyear just weeks after ending her career. She gave birth to a baby girl inSeptember.

“I will think about a family, but later on,” said Ochoa, who was oftendescribed as a “great ambassador” and an “awesome person” by other players.

Brittany Lincicome says Ochoa hasn’t changed this season, except she seems“more stretched with other things.” Lincicome said Ochoa has stopped coming tomeetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“She said she just did not have time,” Lincicome said. “I mean, she isstill religious but she told us she had other obligations.”

With all the distractions, Ochoa’s weak spot on the course was probably herputting. She complained about it last week at her tournament, yet was seldomseen practicing on the putting green. Paula Creamer, who finished second to Wie,made a point about how much time she spends on the practice greens.

“You see it with No. 1 players in the world,” Angela Stanford said.“There are a lot more demands on their time. … I can’t imagine planning awedding and then also being the No. 1 player in the world and carrying that withyou. I’m sure it’s gotta be a lot more difficult.”

Ochoa recovered from a deep, midseason slump marked by one of the worstrounds of her career—an 8-over 79 in the second round of the U.S. Women’sOpen. In early October, she won the Navistar Classic for her third victory. Sheshot 8-under 64 in the final round of the Mizuno Classic this month to finishsecond.

Ochoa’s been No. 1 for 2 1/2 years, and she’ll stay there heading into nextseason no matter what she does at this week’s season-ending LPGA TourChampionship in Houston. But she’s being pushed by Shin, who also leads theseason money list.

Sorenstam was a commanding player, and Ochoa was expected to take over themantle. Sorenstam’s departure may have increased the pressure on Ochoa, who hasdominated at times but hasn’t quite pulled the crowds the way Michelle Wie does— particularly in the United States.

“With Annika stepping away, it was bigger than most people thought,” U.S.LPGA spokesman David Higdon said. “Lorena was caught in the middle a littlebit. Annika had always been the iconic star. I think people probably didn’trealize how much Annika allowed Lorena to grow as a player.”

Higdon acknowledged the U.S. LPGA desperately needs a superstar. It’sblessed with a strong rookie class including Shin, but it needs one player toemerge.

“When you have a close race like we have right now, it’s interesting andexciting to watch,” he said. “But I always feel like when you have a dominantplayer like Lorena, it raises the level and everybody picks up their game.”

Juli Inkster has been in Ochoa’s shoes.

The 49-year-old Inkster has won seven majors and 31 tournaments, mixing hercareer with raising a family.

“It wasn’t easy, and my results showed the ups and downs,” said Inkster,who began traveling with her daughters six weeks after they were born. They’renow 19 and 15.

“I really think Lorena still has a passion for golf,” Inkster said. “Istill think she wants to be No. 1. But I don’t think golf defines Lorena. Golfis what she does, not what she is.”

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.