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Struggling LPGA Tour loses it’s top golfer and ambassador to retirement

compiled from staff and wire reports

In a surprising move, Lorena Ochoa is retiring , in a surprise move like Annika Sorenstam did in 2008, leaving the struggling LPGA Tour without its number 1 player once again.

Lorena Ochoa LPGA (u of arizona photo)

Ochoa, the best-known athlete from Mexico that is not a football or baseball player, announced her surprise decision on Tuesday but won’t discuss her plans until Friday.

The 28-year-old got married in December 2009 to Andres Conesa, the chief executive of Aeromexico airline. She has been number 1 in the world the last three years and won 27 times over the last six.

The LPGA said on Tuesday that Ochoa had not withdrawn from next week’s Tres Marias event in Morelia, west of Mexico City, and indicated she was expected to play. She finished fourth earlier this month in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California, the first major of the year.

Annika Sorenstam was 37 when she retired in May 2008, saying that she wanted to pursue other interests and start a family. She now has a daughter.

Over the past 3 years, Ochoa has talked openly about wanting children of her own. In 2009, she began traveling more, playing less and taking on more obligations, which include her charity foundation.

Her retirement is another in a series of recent blows to the LPGA Tour which has been hurt by the rough economy. The tour only has 25 tournaments, down from over 35 a few years ago, 14  of them in the United States.

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