Home > Golf > Lorena Ochoa: Some things are simply more important than sport

Lorena Ochoa: Some things are simply more important than sport

In an era where sport is an obsession for many and big, big business for companies the world over, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that there are many things more important than sport. Sportsmen and sportswomen around the world enjoy the perks their celebrity status brings and the money that they can command for plying their respective trades and endorsing a multitude of products. Lorena Ochoa however, goes against the grain.

On the face of it, the Mexican has it all. Her natural talent and dedication to her profession have led to 27 LPGA tour wins, including two majors (2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship and 2007 Women’s Open Championship) all of which have netted her significant winnings. To this you can add a raft of lucrative endorsement deals with the likes of Audi, Banamex and PING thought to be worth north of $10 million a year. She has also been the number one ranked women’s golfer in the world for the last three years (2007-2010). In short, she has the world at her feet. Or at least she did.

Ochoa in action at St Andrews (This image is the property of The Daily Mail)

At the age of just 28, Ochoa has taken what is a highly unusual step for a modern day sports star and decided to turn her back on the wealth, acclaim and fame that her status as world number one affords her. For Ochoa, some things are more important than golf and her attitude in refreshing.

Playing at her current level, the diminutive Mexican could easily continue to win tournaments and pocket millions of greenbacks, but she has nobly decided that family life should come first. Ochoa married Andrés Conesa Labastida, CEO of Aeromexico in December 2009 and has said that she wants to start a family. Whilst away playing golf in Thailand recently she commented that she really did not want to be out there and that being close to her family is very important to her. Consequently, on April 20th this year, she announced that she was to retire from the sport. She has left the door open to a return and many say she is foolish for leaving whilst at the peak of her powers, but her stance is to be admired in an age of greed-driven sports stars.

Not only is she keen to start a family, she also wants to devote more time to helping others. The Lorena Ochoa Foundation operates a school for around 250 under-privileged children in her hometown of Guadalajara in Mexico and a high school has recently been opened as well. Ochoa may have been fortunate, but she has not forgotten that many are not.

Her attitude is an eye opener and she is to be applauded for her willingness to turn her back on fame and fortune and the benefits they undoubtedly bring. The sport of golf will miss her, particularly the women’s game and it has to be said that her attitude is in stark contrast to that of her male counterpart, Tiger Woods who gorged on the perks a bit too much.

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Categories: Golf
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