Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lorena Should Have Won This by Now

Doug Ferguson at the AP highlights a very key point, despite all of Lorena's success in 2007 and so far in 2008. Going into the first major of the LPGA Tour season, Lorena should not be pursuing this title for the first time. It is more realistic that she SHOULD be the two-time defending champion of the event.

Ochoa should have won this major by now.

Two years ago, she tied an LPGA major record with a 10-under 62 in the opening round and still had a three-shot lead going into Sunday until a meltdown on the back nine. Ochoa recovered with an eagle on the final hole to get into a playoff against Karrie Webb, who won on the first extra hole.

Ochoa was tied for the lead going into the weekend last year and looked poised as ever until she missed the par-3 17th green, whiffed on a wedge, took three putts once she got on the green and took quadruple bogey that effectively knocked her out of the tournament.

Moments like that are what makes winning even harder.

As I have mentioned before when trying to compare the LPGA majors to the PGA Tour ones for the uninformed, this is like the Masters for the LPGA Tour - same course, every year. And, as Ferguson points out, that can work against someone.

Geoff Ogilvy spoke recently about why the Masters has such a long list of players who never won a green jacket, and he mentioned the familiarity of the course breeding so much contempt.

"There are demons that don't go away," Ogilvy said. "If you have a few close calls at the U.S. Open, you're always doing it somewhere else. If you have demons at Augusta, which everybody does, guys always remember."

Great as she is, Ochoa's biggest challenge will be to bury those memories.

"I already erased them," she insisted. "I only feel good things about this course, and good vibes and good memories. Of course, you're going to make mistakes and have a few bad holes, like what happened on 17 last year. I struggled on holes 13, 14 and 15. They were holes that I played over par, and I'm going to work on those this year and make sure I play that stretch in a positive way.

"And I think that will really help get a good result on Sunday."

What will be interesting to see is which little voice in her head prevails this week - the one that is obliterating fields by 7 and 11 shots this season, or the one that vividly remembers choking away this tournament in the past two years. I am banking on the former. Wink, wink. Just kidding.

6 comments:

The Florida Masochist said...

Ryan,

The people that could have won last year is very long. If Pak played the last 11 holes 2 over par, she would have won.

Se ri played them six over

Catorina Matthew had less than a 10 footer on 18 to tie.

She missed.

Stacy Prammanasudh was -3 and tied with Pressel with 4 holes to go.

Stacy P played 15-18 in two over par.

Everyone remembers Pettersen's blowup and Ochoa's 7 on 17 saturday. The list is much longer than just than them two.

I gave Pettersen and Pak the biggest collapse award of 2007. Se Ri blew her chance for the grand slam.

Bill

The Florida Masochist said...

As for Ochoa in the 2005 US Open. This keeps getting brought up.

More people bogied or worse 18 than parred the hole the last two days of tournament play in 2005.

Ochoa needed a win to tie Birdie Kim. Par wasn't a cinch score.

Ryan Ballengee said...

Bill,
Both points are absolutely true. Last year's KNC was a chokefest. Pressel held up best in the situation and held on for the win. Ochoa is certainly not alone in getting criticized for not winning. Still, wounds can run deep and I think that is the point that Ferguson tries to make here.

As for the 2005 USWO, I don't think that was as big of a choke as was originally made to be. Really, Morgan should have 2 majors to her credit because it was stolen from her. Ochoa was playing to win there and I admired that - even if she didn't execute it.

The Florida Masochist said...

Ryan,

My criticism of Ferguson here is its the same Golf media meme. How many times can we hear- Look at all the young players, how great is Ochoa, How many majors has Ochoa let slip by, all of this has been covered time after time after time. If you want me to I can give you links to blogposts of mine on last year's US Open coverage. Are these the only stories out there among the 150-200 players on tour?

I'd just like to hear something original for a change. Other than any given weekend's results.

The Florida Masochist said...

As for Pressel being stolen, Kim's record isn't very good but she made the shot. If Birdie did the usual score at 18, bogey we would still have had a 3-way playoff. Pressel, Brittany Lang, and Kim. Morgan wasn't guaranteed to win, and I don't see the Open as being stolen from her.

Are you falling for one of the LPGA meme going around too? ;)

Cheers,

Bill

PS- The Florida Masochist is my original blog and this is my blogger sign in.

Ryan Ballengee said...

Certainly can't forget Lang. It was that US Open that made me a fan of hers. Too bad not more has come from her since.

The problem with operations like the AP, GolfDigest, etc, going to cover the LPGA Tour majors is that they send their PGA Tour guys to do it. To Golfweek's credit, Beth Ann Baldry is dedicated to the LPGA and does some very nice reporting for them. Tough to find the same thing at a big golf operation.