LPGA star Lorena Ochoa keeps a close eye on Tiger Woods. But maybe Woods should be studying her

LPGA star Lorena Ochoa keeps a close eye on Tiger Woods. But maybe Woods should be studying her

Lorena Ochoa.
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You’ve won 18 titles in 24 months. How does it feel to have Annika Sorenstam stating that she’s now chasing you?

[Laughs] I like the way it feels being in the No. 1 position. I don’t mind that a lot of players are trying to catch me. I’m just trying to enjoy my moment because it’s something that took me a long time to achieve. It’s not something that happened in a couple days or a couple months.

Your run has been Tiger-like. Do you enjoy those types of comparisons?

I think they’re fun. Tiger is someone that I admire and respect a lot. I always try to see him play on Sunday to see what is he doing. It’s an honor to be compared to him and it’s a great motivation for me to try to beat him.

What kind of relationship do you have with Tiger? Has he ever sent you a text message, or do you talk at all?

Zero, none. I saw him for the first time in many years last year at the Masters, and just very briefly said “Hi” to him. And he said, “Congratulations for a great year,” and that’s it. We are never [geographically] close. The two of us play different tournaments and different schedules, and I still live in Mexico. Hopefully in the future we’ll have a little more time to see each other or maybe practice together or become friends.

Will you win a ‘calendar year’ Grand Slam before Tiger?

Well, you need to let me know when he’s going to win… I guess right now I’m a little bit ahead because I won [the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA’s first major]. I like that idea; I’m ready for that.

Would you ever consider playing a PGA Tour event like Annika did?

No. My idea was first to play on the LPGA and dominate here and just try to do my best and achieve my goals. I’ve had a few offers to play, especially in Mexico in the PGA Tour event that goes to Mayakoba. But right now I have no intention to do that. I think it’s completely different. I think there are other things that I could do to improve my game or to have an experience, maybe an exhibition, but not to play on the PGA Tour.

What’s been the secret not only to your success but to your humility?

Number one, my family. They are the ones who made me this way, the way I grew up, my education, my values.

And I went to a Catholic school, which helped a lot [laughs]. I’ve also felt completely welcome ever since I started on Tour, and that’s how I treat others: with a lot of respect. I feel like this is a big family. We spend so much time traveling together, and this is just who I am. I’m not going to change; I think that would be wrong. My goal is to be the same inside or outside of golf — what you see is really what you get.

Additional Reporting By Jessica Marksbury