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The Loop

Ochoa: Best Player Never to Have Won......

__"The majors are what golf's all about." Nick Faldo __

Canadian Len Ganz says that he is "A bit of a slow reader and regular subscriber. Just read April 2007 and Lorena Ochoa's tips for breaking 90. She wants to show me how to fade a ball. Don't know about you but as someone who is trying to break 90 I need more practical tips. I can already fade it into the trees off of the 1st tee. What I need to know is how not to hook it into the pond on the left of that short par 3 or how to line up that 3rd putt on the 18th to win the match. These are tips that I can use."

Len, your letter arrived just in time, if you want to talk about Lorena Ochoa. This is a big weekend for the Best Female Player Never to Have Won A Major. But first your comment about her tip. Most of the time I'd agree that How to Hit a Fade may not be ideal instruction for amateurs trying to break 90, but think of it this way: It's the experience of some good players and teachers that when we hackers try to hit the fade, we tend to drop the club farther "inside" on the downswing and actually create a better swing path. Doesn't work for everyone, mind you, but it's why some good players revert to fading the ball when things go wrong. So there's a method to that madness. By the way, she also teaches you how to draw the ball...

On the subject of Ochoa and majors, Yahoo's Mike Arkush, who last year profiled Ochoa for Golf For Women, takes a pretty tough stance today:

__"Ochoa was standing on the 18th tee in the final round of the 2005 U.S. Women's Open with a share of the lead. All she had to do then was get one more par and she would be in excellent shape. Instead, she snap-hooked her drive into the lake, leading to a triple. It was the worst shot at the worst possible moment. She finished sixth.

"A year later, Ochoa lost in a playoff to Karrie Webb at the Kraft Nabisco in California. Webb eagled the final hole to get into a playoff and won it with a birdie. That's the type of heroics Ochoa needs to pull off....

"It doesn't matter that the computer says she's the No. 1 player in the world.

"What matters is majors, and she doesn't have any.

" __ Okay, Mike. It may not be this week, but Ochoa is no Monty. She'll win many majors it says here.

--Bob Carney