Lorena Ochoa has been selected to receive the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor from the U.S. Golf Association that recognizes distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
Ochoa, who retired in May at age 28, was chosen because of her foundation that helps hundreds of less privileged children in her Mexico homeland.
Ochoa at first was not sure what she had won.
“It was very exciting,” she said. “I went to the Internet, trying to see what it was all about, and I said, ‘Wow!’ I enjoyed reading about Bob Jones and all of the past recipients. Then I told my mother. Now, I just plan to enjoy the good news, the ceremony, the whole thing.”
She will receive the award on Feb. 5 in Phoenix at the USGA’s annual meeting.
The Lorena Ochoa Foundation runs La Barranca, an elementary school in her hometown of Guadalajara where 250 underprivileged students are enrolled. The foundation two years ago began running a high school for 21 students.
“I play golf for a reason, and the foundation is the main reason,” Ochoa said. “That was my motivation to keep playing and practicing for many years.”
Ochoa dominated women’s golf in the four years until her retirement while ranked No. 1 in the world, winning 27 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, including two majors.
She still plays in exhibitions and hosts her LPGA Tour event, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, to benefit her foundation.
“People ask when I’m going to play again and I tell them I play every day with my father and friends,” she said. “Golf will always be a part of my life.”