LORENA OCHOA HAS A COUPLE of things in common with golf great Bob Jones. Like Jones, Ochoa walked away from competitive golf at the age of 28. Lorena also left while she was world No. 1, just as Jones did after winning the Grand Slam in 1930.
Ochoa picked up the 2011 Bob Jones Award at the USGA’s annual meeting in Phoenix last weekend. Lorena said she was “speechless” when first informed about being the recipient. After weeks to prepare her acceptance speech, an emotional Ochoa said the words still didn’t come easy.
“It would have been easier in Spanish,” she confessed. That got a hearty laugh.
The Bob Jones Award has been around since 1955. The USGA honor is given to players who emulate the lifelong amateur and 13-time major winner. Ochoa is a great selection.
Maybe Lorena will return to tournament golf someday. But for now she’s happily pursuing her foundation work that she said drove her to be the world’s best female golfer. The strong desire to help youth in her native Mexico motivated her to excel at the game she took up at the age of five. The Lorena Ochoa Foundation benefits underprivileged children in her hometown of Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Ochoa was a two-time NCAA Player of the Year at University of Arizona before embarking on an eight-year career on the LPGA Tour. She retired in 2010 with 27 wins, including the 2007 Women’s British Open and the 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Lorena Ochoa tribute video shown at USGA annual meeting
−The Armchair Golfer
(Photo credit: memoflores, Flickr, Creative Commons license)