Lorena Ochoa of Mexico will announce her retirement in Mexico City on Friday, another blow for the beleaguered LPGA in its attempts to regain its equilibrium in a difficult economy.
No details have yet to emerge as to the reasons, when the retirement will go into effect, or whether she intends the retirement to be permanent. Ochoa, who married Andres Conesa, the CEO of Aeromexico, in December, has said in the past that she would retire once she was ready to start a family.
Whatever her reasons, it comes at a difficult time for the LPGA, less than two years after her predecessor as the game's leading light, Annika Sorenstam, announced her own retirement.
Moreover, the LPGA has been hit hard by the recession, and losing the player generally regarded as the tour's best won't help on the sponsor front. Ochoa, 28, has won the LPGA's player of the year award four times (she was second last year to Korea's Jiyai Shin). She has won 27 tournaments, including two major championship. In 2010, she has an indifferent start (by her standards), finishing in the top 10 only once (fourth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship).
-- John Strege