Ochoa to return for LPGA event in Mexico
Mexicans will have the chance to see Lorena Ochoa compete at an official LPGA event for the first time in two years.
Ochoa, 30, who retired from the LPGA in mid-2010, will play in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Nov. 8-11 at her childhood playground, Guadalajara Country Club. She was unable to compete in last year’s tournament because she was one month from giving birth to her first child, son Pedro.
Ochoa’s current schedule might be as busy as it was during her playing days. Next month, she plans to compete in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic with Mark Calcavecchia of the Champions Tour. The event, held June 17-19 at Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, features a long list of LPGA stars, including Annika Sorenstam, Yani Tseng, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson. Juli Inkster, who has been sidelined all season with elbow surgery, also is scheduled to play.
Ochoa will fly directly to New York after the final round to receive the Mary Bea Porter Award at the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association awards dinner. The award is given to someone who betters lives through a heroic or humanitarian act.
In July, Ochoa will launch her book tour. Though an editor at Random House gave Ochoa suggestions, Ochoa’s brother/manager Alejandro said it was written by Ochoa herself. Initially, the autobiography will be released in Spanish. An English translation is expected in early 2013. True to Ochoa form, the book is small on technique and big on life.
In September, Ochoa will pair with Tseng in Pettersen’s charity event in Norway. Pettersen will partner with Sorenstam for the exhibition. Ochoa will then return to Europe in early October to compete on the Ladies European Tour in the Lacoste Ladies Open in France. Lacoste is a longtime sponsor of Ochoa's, and this will be her first time competing in the event.
Between those tournaments, Ochoa has 27 speaking engagements scheduled, a number that Alejandro expects to double. Ochoa spent months crafting motivational speeches to deliver to Mexican business leaders and is proving to be a popular keynote speaker. She recently gave an hourlong presentation in front of 2,000 attendees at a Banamex function in Acapulco.
Similar to Sorenstam’s constant presence on Golf Channel, Ochoa stays in contact with her fans through a CNN Español golf show that she hosts once a month. The show, which covers all aspects of the game, replays eight to 14 times a month.
Despite her retirement in mid-2010 from the LPGA, Ochoa managed to keep all of her major sponsors on board, with the exception of AeroMexico. She’s still contracted for appearances with the airline, but after her marriage to CEO Andres Conesa, the board saw fit to renegotiate because of a conflict of interest, Alejandro said.
Conesa and Ochoa have talked about having another child sometime in 2013, which would put her competitive plans on hold. Ochoa has always said she’d like to play the Kraft Nabisco and Ricoh Women’s British Open again (the two majors she won). It would be fitting for her to return to St. Andrews in 2013, site of her first major victory. Ochoa was a magician around the Old Course. But, as Alejandro noted, that all depends on when she might be pregnant.
At this time, Alejandro can’t see Ochoa returning to the LPGA full time. He can envision four to six exhibitions a year and four full-week official events.
As for her namesake LPGA tournament, the five-year contract ends in 2012. Alejandro said he hopes to be able to make an announcement about the event’s future during tournament week.
“I’m pretty confident it will continue,” he said.
It helps that little sis is in the field.