Ochoa full of confidence; Tiger talks Van Halen

Wednesday March 5th, 2008

What is up with Lorena Ochoa?

On Sunday she won her first start of the season by 11 shots, stiff-arming the year's first two winners, who were also her final-round playing partners, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer, with four rounds in the 60s for a 20-under 268 in the HSBC Champions at Tanah Merah in Singapore.

The beat down wasn't that surprising — Ochoa has been the best player in the women's game for a while — but when that performance brought up the inevitable Tiger Woods comparisons, the humble, soft-spoken star was anything but demure.

"When (Tiger) won the (Buick Invitational) by 10 (he won be eight), I had that in mind," she said. "You know, it can be done, and why not go and win my first tournament by 10."

Wow! And was this win a message to the rest of the LPGA? she was asked.

"Yes. I think yes," she said.

What about the majors, is she thinking Grand Slam, like Tiger?

"I don't really have a number in my mind. Every tournament I play, I play to win."

It's not exactly Muhammad Ali, but those are the uncharacteristically blunt words of a golfer brimming with confidence and unworried about her rivals. Still, at least one competitor came away undaunted.

"She's playing well, but (playing as well) is nothing I don't think is achievable," said Sorenstam.

Can't wait for the Safeway (March 27-30).

Last Thursday at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Delhi, India, Nationwide tour player Arjun Atwal claimed that he had been cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida State Attorney's office in the March 2007 car accident that left another man, John Noah Park, dead.

The Florida Highway Patrol's official report on the accident was forwarded to the state attorney on Feb. 7, and Atwal said his lawyers called him a week later with news that the case had been dropped.

One problem: The state attorney has no idea what Atwal is talking about, noting that no decision has been made regarding the accident.

Atwal could face anything from vehicular manslaughter to street-racing charges. He finished 17th at the Johnnie Walker.

Note to Tiger: Van Morrison is a he, Van Halen is a they.

A post on Woods's blog at pgatour.com read, "I'm also thrilled to report that Van Halen will play at Tiger Jam XI, April 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. I've already seen him play twice in concert this year, and he and the boys put on amazing shows."

No wonder Woods's nickname in college was Urkel.

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