The golf notebook …
HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. ó It doesn’t take much to motivate Lorena Ochoa at a major, especially now.
After a somber week in Mexico, she arrived at expansive Bulle Rock Golf Club knowing the history that awaits in what already is shaping up to be a historical season. A victory in the McDonald’s LGPA Championship would make her only the fourth player to win three straight majors, and the first since Pat Bradley in 1986.
She would love to stay on track for the Grand Slam ó two more for the career slam, three for the calendar slam.
Beyond the record books, however, is something for her tight-knit family in Guadalajara. Ochoa had to leave the LPGA Tour last week when she learned her uncle had become seriously ill, and he died before she made it home.
“It’s more important now for my family,” Ochoa said. “I’d love to give them some joy.”
Pedro Ochoa, her father’s brother, was not able to go to the Kraft Nabisco Championship in early April, when Ochoa won the first major of the year and plunged into the lake with her family.
He had a stroke a week ago Sunday, followed by surgery, but doctors said he had leukemia in an advanced stage. He died on Wednesday, and Ochoa spent the rest of the week with her family.
“I didn’t get a chance to see him,” Ochoa said. “But it was nice to be home for my dad with my whole family and my relatives. We are a very close family. It was very tough, but in a way, I feel at peace. And I spent time with them.
“Now, I am back, and I’m very motivated,” she said. “I really want to play good, and in a way, it was good to have a little bit of a break and just get away from golf and try to see everything in a positive way.”
FAR HILLS, N.J. ó Having a new addition to the USGA Museum dedicated to him on Tuesday brought back memories of Walter Hagen, Dwight Eisenhower and Bobby Jones for Arnold Palmer.
Not to mention a question about Tiger Woods and his surgically repaired left knee.
Palmer had a similar knee operation about 20 years ago, and he was playing golf again in less than two months.
So with the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego a week away, Palmer believes Woods should be good to go following his April 15 surgery.
“I haven’t had really any problem with it since,” Palmer said of his knee during a news conference before The Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History was officially opened.
“I think that, as far as he’s concerned, he is physically so fit that I would think his condition will allow him to get back into it,” the 78-year-old Palmer said of Woods. “I don’t see there’s any real reason why it should prevent him from doing anything he wants to do.”
Palmer was rarely injured in his career, a remarkable feat in that he never seemed to hold back with his swing.
During the dedication ceremony, former LPGA star and current television analyst Dottie Pepper noted that she has a book written by Palmer called: “Hit It Hard.”
Palmer said he prevented injuries by exercising and staying in good shape.
“I can’t say that I didn’t have some injuries,” Palmer said. “I had what I thought was a hip problem. It became kind of ugly in 1969, when I had to withdraw from the PGA Championship. I did everything I could to find out what it was and how to correct it, and actually never did.”
It was the only major Palmer missed during his career.