The world’s best female golfer, Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, has exclusively revealed to CNN that a meeting with Tiger Woods in her youth inspired her to become the player she is today.
The pair first met at Tory Pines when both competing in the Junior World Championships, an event that Woods won a record six times and Ochoa has won five. The two then met again 15 years later at the Golf Writer’s Association of America Awards where both were named players of the year. Ochoa, 27, told CNN’s Living Golf program the meeting had a big impact on her: “You don’t realize the importance of things until you’re older and look back. I’m just glad it worked out the way it did for us. “He was boy and I was a girl, we were both young and we didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t see him for another 15 years, but I reminded him and showed him the pictures and he was like “wow”.”
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Ochoa, who started playing golf aged just five-years-old, has now won 26 LPGA Tour titles but said despite the success it has been harder to sustain her number one spot than it was to attain it. “It’s harder to stay number one than getting there – if you get distracted or stop practicing you can very easily lose your position. Ochoa overtook Annika Sörenstam to become the world number one ranked golfer in 2007 and since has won two majors, including the Women’s British Open and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The Mexican also picked up the Honda LPGA Thailand recently but says her drive to win more remains the same: “My life has changed a lot. I’ve been preparing myself to get to that position so it didn’t take me by surprise. It took me five years from turning professional to becoming the number on in the world. It’s not easy but it’s been a lot of fun and I want to stay here.” The next major championship for Ochoa to set her sights on will be the McDonald’s LPGA Championship on June 11-14.