Lorena Ochoa Retirement

lorena-ochoa-retirementYesterday’s announcement that Lorena Ochoa, easily the most dominant player on the women’s golf circuit, has retired at the ripe old age of 28 has taken the sports world (or, at least, the tiny subsection of it that care’s about women’s golf) by surprise.

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Bill Jempty calls it “a stunner because of its timing. She needs to play the LPGA till 2012 to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Her points total already qualifies her, but a player must play the tour for 10 years also and Ochoa was a rookie in 2003.”

It’s an interesting development but hardly shocking.

Unlike top male golfers, women have to choose between children and their careers.  While Ochoa would presumably still be perfectly fertile in 2012 — she’d only be 30 — the clock is ticking if she wants to have multiple children.   And pregnancy rather interferes with one’s golf swing.

Her decision was, presumably, made somewhat easier by the fact that she’s married to Dr. Andres Conesca, the CEO of Aeromexico airline.  One imagines that their ability to pay the bills won’t be severely impacted.

My strong guess is that, like Nancy Lopez and other great women’s golfers before her, Ochoa will make a comeback in her mid-to-late 30’s and become productive again.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Drew says:

    That’s a shame. I suppose only hard core golfers like me have much of an interest in the ladies game, but the Solheim Cup was held nearby last summer, and my club hosted them a few years back. When you watch them, they can’t begin to compete with the men but they still are damned fine players.

  2. Triumph says:

    One of the problems with women’s golf is that most of the chicks on the circuit are not very hot.

    Golf is boring to begin with–there is no way in hell that I’m going to spend any amount of time watching broads traipse around a golf course unless they are naked.

    This is the first time I’ve heard of Lornea Ochoa and from the picture she actually looks pretty do-able ( in a Mexican Rachel Ray sort-of-way). Take her out of that atrocious LL Bean , country club outfit and we might be on to something.

    If the LPGA wants us to give a damn about women’s golf they need to start following the lead of the beach volleyball circuit in terms of attire.

  3. Franklin says:

    but a player must play the tour for 10 years [to be eligible for the Hall of Fame]

    What if you dominate for 9 years and then die unexpectedly?

    Sounds like a stupid rule, like most of the rules of golf (like the guy that just brushed a twig on his backstroke and lost a half million dollars).

  4. sam says:

    When you watch them, they can’t begin to compete with the men but they still are damned fine players.

    Yeah, and 95% of the male golfers in the world would probably give their right nut for a top 10 professional woman’s game. I would. (I admit that at my age that ain’t much of a sacrifice but it’s the thought that counts, right?)

  5. sam says:

    Sounds like a stupid rule, like most of the rules of golf (like the guy that just brushed a twig on his back[swing] and lost a half million dollars).

    It says something for the the sport that the guy called the penalty on himself, doncha think?

  6. Drew says:

    Slammin’ Sammy –

    Excepting the male tour (all tours) pros, I’d say 95% of the male golfers in the world would take ANY lady tour player’s game.

    Women’s length is an issue wrt men pros. But most hit it about 240- 270 off the tee. OK for the real world.

    For some reason I can’t explain they just – as a group – don’t seem to putt as well. There is no reason for this biologically. But its an empirical fact.

  7. Franklin says:

    It says something for the the sport that the guy called the penalty on himself, doncha think?

    It says something for Mr. Davis, certainly. And surely many would have done the same, but others would not (Michelle Wie, for one).

    Oops on the backstroke/swing – I’ve been swimming a lot lately.

  8. Bill Jempty says:

    James,

    There are two recent Hall of Famers who are mothers, Juli Inkster and Nancy Lopez. Both didn’t retire so to have their children. Each lost about a year of playing time each time they had children.

    BTW Inkster’s career was better after she had her children than before.

    Ochoa could have had a child, still remained a tour player, and reached the HOF qualification by playing till 2012.

    There’s something more at work here. Her marriage to the President of Aeromexico has changed her life. She’s a Mom now, though their stepchildren, Ochoa has also had to move from Guadalajara to Mexico City. She’s heavily involved with Mexico Charities and been asked by the Vatican become a global spokesperson for Catholic women in sports. That was later withdrawn because it was learned Ochoa’s husband is divorced.

    Ochoa could simply be burned out. Christina Kim said in her recent book that Ochoa was unlikely to play after 2012. Her retirement wasn’t unexpected, but the timing is shocking. Will Ochoa play the LPGA again? Yes Will she be a full-time player Mom like Juli Inkster? No Will Ochoa come back at the same level of play she leaves the game- No.

    Cheers,

    Bill

  9. Bill Jempty says:

    Also Catorina Matthew won the Women’s British Open less than three months after giving birth. She also won a unofficial LPGA event while pregnant in 2009.