The game’s two biggest guns aren’t playing the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson this week. But the biggest names in women’s golf will be at this week’s LPGA lid-lifter, the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand. So it was time for USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio to catch up with Lorena Ochoa and Jiyai Shin, the LPGA’s best players. Shin missed a birdie chip on the final hole of last year’s finale that would’ve given her the Player of the Year award along with the Rookie of the Year award. Instead, Ochoa picked up her usual honor.
That sets up 2010 as a potential changing of the guard. Shin, 21, is on the rise while Ochoa hit a plateau last year. Neither was satisfied with her play. Shin won three times and led the tour’s money list.
“Last year was a great year for me, but I would
not give myself a 100 on a self-evaluation,” Shin wrote last week in an
e-mail to USA TODAY. “If we are talking about the results, to other
people it may be 100. When I review my performance throughout the year,
I would say it was more like 70. I had many ups and downs last year. In 2010, I
want to be more consistent.”
Ochoa got married in December to Aeromexico head Andres Conesa, who has three children from a previous marriage. She said she is committed to golf in 2010.
“I’ve been taking the time like I always do to
practice six, seven hours and go to the gym a couple hours every day,”
Ochoa said last week from her new home in Mexico City. “My coach is
coming here to watch me play and help me a little bit with technique,
like we always do.”
Ochoa, who has 27 career titles, including two
major championships, won her fourth consecutive Vare Trophy last year
when she nudged Shin by decimal points for the season’s lowest scoring
average. “The competition is getting tougher and tougher,” Ochoa said. “Believe me, I have enough motivation.”