Former world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa never said she was retiring for good. Well, last weekend she came out of semi-retirement and won the pro-celebrity Star Trophy at Mission Hills in China. Ochoa shot scores of 71-71 to beat Colin Montgomerie by two strokes. Actually, Monty incurred a two-shot penalty on the 16th hole; otherwise, the two would have faced off in a sudden death playoff (now wouldn’t that have been fun to watch?).
In the winner-takes-all event, Ochoa won a cool $1.28 million. While the exhibition victory and money aren’t enough to pull her out of retirement, she’s going back to Mexico “really happy.” Now this is some speculation on my part, but I doubt money has ever been a driver for her career. I’m guessing that the majority of her winnings will go toward her foundation. Plus, her husband Andres Conesa is the CEO of Aeromexico, so he has money pouring out of his ears.
One thing’s for sure: It’s good to see Lorena back in the winner’s circle even just briefly for a pro-celebrity tournament.
Earlier last week, Ochoa told Golf Digest that she is considering playing five tournaments next year — you know, just “for fun.”
“I don’t think I will play full time but I would love to play maybe the Nabisco (Championship) or the Evian (Masters) or British Open,” she said here on Wednesday while preparing for this week’s Mission Hills Star Trophy Pro-Celebrity tournament.
“I will play some tournaments in the future. We want to start a family, my husband and I, (so) it depends on the timing. But I will play some tournaments for fun.”
She also clarified her retirement status (which is why I’ve been calling it “semi-retired”):
“I didn’t retire from golf. I retired from the LPGA. I play golf every day. I would be lying if I said (I don’t miss competitive golf). I’m also super happy. It’s just nice to be home.
“Every day it appears more to me I’ve made the right decision at the right time. I’m at peace and enjoying the game in a different way. I play without pressure, practice a lot less hours a day and I have more free time. I feel I’m very lucky to be still involved with the game and taking things a little easier.
“I didn’t get sick of anything. I just achieved what I wanted to achieve and I wanted to retire the No. 1 in the world. I knew I didn’t want to play forever. I just wanted to play a few years and then move on and do different things.”
Even if Lorena isn’t coming back on a full schedule, just having the beloved former No. 1 at five tournaments is better than nothing. Will this change in the future? In my opinion, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. But I found it a little surprising that she plays golf every day. I can’t help but wonder how much her husband had to do with her decision to retire (even though she said it was fully hers).
Maybe if she gets really, really bored, but it sounds like she has plenty to keep her busy (like babies in the near future). On second thought once she has kids, there’s probably non chance she’ll stage a full comeback until when they’re grown up. After all, Lorena has made it clear that family comes first — as it always should, of course.
(AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)