The top-ranked woman golfer in the world, Lorena Ochoa, announced her retirement from the game of golf.
At only 28 years of age, Ochoa made her intentions public on Tuesday by way of her website. She has been the No.1 ranked player in the world for the last three years, remaining at the summit of the LPGA Tour, and one of the most popular attractions. She is one of the most popular athletes in her home country of Mexico.
“Lorena Ochoa confirms her retirement from the LPGA, as news reports in some media have said today,” a statement read. “The reasons and more details on the matter will be given by Lorena personally in a press conference on Friday in Mexico City. Lorena will share this news of a new stage in her life with her sponsors, family members and friends.”
ESPN reports that the Mexican newspaper Reforma stated that her retirement may be more similar to an indefinite leave of absence however, and that she may return to golf one day.
Ochoa had made her intentions known that it was a priority of hers to start a family, as she had recently got married.
“I must admit that I was surprised, but not shocked, when I heard the news yesterday that Lorena is going to retire,” remarked former No.1 players Annika Sorenstam said on her blog. “She has always said she would play for maybe 10 years and then leave the game to start a family. She just got married and obviously feels that she is ready for that next chapter in her life.”
Sorenstam retired at the age of 37 just a couple of years ago in 2008, citing similar interests to Ochoa, in wanting to start a family and pursue other activities.
Ochoa had addressed the issue of a family on many occasions during her career on the LPGA Tour, among other activities that included work with her charity and playing in fewer tournaments.
“Personally, it’s more important the things that I do outside the golf course,” Ochoa remarked last year at a tournament that her and her charity hosts. “And that’s been my main focus right now.”
The announcement of her retirement does not come at a good time for the LPGA Tour, which has seen a decline in sponsors and ticket sales, which can be attributed to the poor economy. With Ochoa being among the most popular players on tour, it will not help with the current state.
“While the LPGA will certainly miss her great play, warm demeanor and smile, I am personally very happy for her,” Sorenstam remarked. “The most rewarding days are ahead of her, and I wish her all the best.”
While the top-ranked player on the LPGA retires, the top-ranked player on the PGA Tour continues his comeback. Tiger Woods played in his first competitive round in five months at the 2010 Masters, and will play at Quail Hollow and the U.S Open over the next two months, with the potential for other entries as well.
Woods has been installed as the betting favorite on Online Sportsbooks to win the 2010 U.S Open.