Women’s golf. Get excited because that’s what we are talking about today.
Lorena Ochoa announced her retirement from women’s professional golf yesterday. Ochoa is currently the No. 1 ranked player in the world. She has won Rolex LPGA Player of Year four straight years and has amassed a total of $14.2 million over her career.
I’m not exactly thinking Mike Jeffrey Jordan when I think of this abrupt retirement, unless LPGA Commisioner Michael Whan is secretly suspending Ochoa for her excessive gambling, but this is an athlete at the top of her sport. (And no, I did not know who the LPGA Commish was or if they even had one, I had to look it up.)
This is somewhat reminiscent and just as unexpected as when Justine Henin-Hardenne retired from tennis in 2008 at the age of 25. She was also No. 1 in the world in her sport at the time.
It lasted 15 months when Henin came back – sans Hardenne – in January 2010. What did she do in her brief “retirement?” Focused on her charity and her tennis schools.
So why would the world’s No. 1 quit her sport at the age of 28? Well you’ll find out in a press conference on Friday in Mexico City (as long as you have SAP that is).
I’m all about speculation and gambling. So I’m throwing some odds on what may have caused Ms. Ochoa to hang up the spikes. Bets will be accepted all week.
|1-3||She wants to spend more time with her husband/wants to start a family. (Booooring).|
|1-1||She is currently pregnant. (Mildy entertaining – this is what my money is on).|
|3-2||She wants to focus on her charities and golf schools.|
|10-1||Her husband, Aeromexico CEO Andres Conesa, is getting tired of making his own tortillas and vacuuming the villa. Ditch the sticks for a broom Lorena.|
|25-1||She had sex with Tiger Woods. At this point, 25-1 on any woman is a steal when Tiger’s involved.|
|150-1||She is going to play in the WNBA. I’m not sure if she’s ever played basketball, but she is athletic and looks coordinated so could probably average 15 a game…which would probably win her the scoring title.|
|1000-1||Lorena Ochoa is actually Lorenzo Ochoa. He can’t take the lying anymore and tells the world he has been pretending to be a woman this whole time. This is my sleeper longshot pick. I mean, he/she is from Mexico, no one ever heard of he/she until he/she came on the LPGA, and he/she has absolutely set the LPGA on fire the last five years. Don’t act like you didn’t just hesitate for a minute and like this idea.|
I’m going to throw ten bucks on the Lorenzo theory and cross my fingers.
When looking at the situation from a LPGA fan’s standpoint (and by LPGA fan I mean all the husbands and life-partners of LPGA players, Michelle Wie’s dad, Rosie O’Donnell, China and Japan for some reason, and Vijay Singh), this is a terrible blow to your tour. You just lost your sport’s dominant player at only 28 years old.
It’s very tough to gain momentum as a female sports league when your top players continually focus on things other than that sport. In tennis, you have the Williams’ sisters seemingly showing up when they want to and winning whenever they don’t have a commercial to shoot or a fashion line to debut. In the WNBA, women continually leave to have children and Jamal Jeffries gets kicked out of the NBA and poses as a women in order to play in the league. In golf, you have Michelle Wie wanting to play on the men’s tour, Natalie Gulbis wanting to do Maxim shoots, and now Ochoa wanting to do something other than play golf.
It seems like women’s curling is the only sport that can survive the purging of it’s big stars for external reasons. This is probably because you can play drunk shuffleboard at a bar for two weeks and walk on to an Olympic curling team.
Until Michelle Wie turns out to be what she is expected to be – if she ever does – the LPGA is now a little more irrelevant than it was before. It’s a shame because Lorenzo has every right to live his/her life the way he/she wants to, but the sport will suffer because of it.