Ochoa grilled upon return to Mexico
Thursday, September 10, 2009
MEXICO CITY — Lorena Ochoa usually basks in adulation at home in Mexico. Not on Thursday.
In the Mexican capital to promote a charity event, the top-ranked LPGA golfer was hit with unfriendly queries about her so-so play this season. She has won twice in 15 starts and tied for 10th last weekend in the Canadian Women’s Open.
But Ochoa has been disappointing in major events — tied for 28th in the Women’s British Open, tied for 40th in the Evian Masters and tied for 26th in the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I’m not going to answer any question about my results,” she said. “I think I’ve said that I feel good and I’m feeling positive. Canada was a good week and I’m looking forward to winning the tournaments that remain and finishing the season satisfied.”
Ochoa has been ranked No. 1 for just over two years. In Mexico — except for a soccer star like Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Rafa Marquez — she is probably the country’s highest profile athlete. No matter where she plays or how she finishes, she is the lead story on TV and in print.
This season she has changed caddies, putters, the way she grips the putter and her swing. Her once huge lead at No. 1 has slimmed to the point where she’s just edging Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Yani Tseng of Taiwan.
“That’s life in sports,” Ochoa said. “I’m relaxed, satisfied. You can’t always be on top. There are always ups and downs in the career of an athlete. This is not the best time for me, but it’s nothing out of control.”
Pressed about her season, Ochoa defended herself but did not hide her irritation.
“The results, the statistics still say I have the No. 1 ranking,” she said. “Perhaps right now I’m not playing like the No. 1. It’s fair to say I have not won in the last weeks. They say one learns more from mistakes.
“I’m going to repeat, and I’ve said this many times and I want it to be clear — I’m not blaming anybody else or anything. I’m in a phase in which I am traveling more and playing less. I’m coming more to Mexico — I have a lot of obligations off the golf course.”