MANILA, Philippines - Lorena Ochoa, the greatest Mexican golfer ever, said it takes a lot of time, effort and patience to get to the top.
Not to mention the resources needed to give young and ambitious golfers the needed experience.
“It takes time because you need to learn. You need the experience of playing not only in Asia but also in Europe,” said the No. 1 LPGA player from 2007 until 2010.
“Everything is a process. You just need to be patient,” she said.
Ochoa retired right after the 2010 season, when she was 29, when most golfers that age have yet to reach their peak. But to her, retirement came at the perfect time.
She felt she had accomplished her goal of being the best in women’s golf, and that it was time to do other things like raising her own family.
In 2008, she also put up the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the La Barranca School, which now provides education to 350 underprivileged kids in Guadalajara.
“We continue to help them,” she said.
The bubbly golfer who first won her first tournament at the age of six and went on to win 27 LPGA titles is in the country for a short but “special” visit.
Ochoa faced sports scribes Sunday evening at the executive lounge of the posh Solaire Resort and Casino, and shared 30 minutes of her precious time.
Last Saturday, she conducted a clinic before the young Filipina golfers under the ICTSI golf program put up by industrialist Ricky Razon, and the following day she played a round at The Country Club.
Last Monday, Ochoa was at Wack Wack to grace the first Everest Academy Golf Cup, named after the only Catholic International School in the country.
Ochoa said she loves to be around young female golfers because she sees herself in them.
“It’s my first time here and it’s been a lot of fun. I’m enjoying the great hospitality,” said Ochoa, holding on to an ice-filled glass of soda.
Ochoa cited Razon for all the effort helping young golfers, and if the program continues she won’t be surprised to see more Filipinas in the LPGA.
“Yes,” she said.
“The players and Mr. Razon just have to be patient. And in three, four or five years you will see their names there,” Ochoa added.
“I had no time to assess them but what I liked is that they’re having a good time. I think they’re doing things the right way. They should take advantage of this that Mr. Razon is helping them,” she added.
One quick tip she gave the golfers is for them to “work on your weakest spot” and “focus on where you need to improve” in order to succeed.
“It’s the rhythm and the mental process. You need to be good at everything to dominate. You have to be a complete player,” she said.
Back to her foundation, Ochoa said there’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot more space needed because for this year they had to close the doors on 35 kids.
“They were left out because the classrooms were already full. It’s sad. We just try to do what we can do,” said the golfer with dazzling Latina looks.
“I wish we could have more classrooms. It’s a very expensive cause for us but we continue to build classrooms. We’re also putting up a library,” Ochoa said.
Putting up the foundation, Ochoa knew, was not going to be easy because nothing, she said, is easy.
It all takes time.