NEW YORK • Lorena Ochoa, whose 27 LPGA Tour victories include two Majors, called herself "the luckiest woman in the world" after she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday alongside Ian Woosnam, Meg Mallon and two-time US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.
The Mexican, who retired at 28 when still ranked No. 1 in the world to start a family, joked that writing her inductee speech was probably harder than having a baby.
She recalled her junior days and what motivated her as a child.
"When I was eight, my dad told me if I qualified to represent Mexico in the world championship, he would take me to California. To tell you the truth, I just wanted to go to Disneyland," the 35-year-old said to laughter.
She recalled her husband, Andres Conesa, taking her to the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida 10 years ago - and predicting they would return with their family to see her enshrined there.
"And it came true," she said.
Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion and a metaphorical giant of the game, used the occasion to joke about a time he was told he was too small to ever succeed in golf.
"I was once asked by a member of my golf club around the age of 14, he said, 'young Woosnam, what are you going to do when you leave school'?" the 1.64m Welshman, 59, affectionately known throughout the golf world as "Wee Woosie", said at the New York ceremony.
"I said, 'I'm going to be a professional golfer... win tournaments and Majors and become the best golfer in the world.'
"He laughed, and he tapped me on the head and said, 'well, if you want to try to achieve all that, you're going to have to grow a little'. He was right. I did grow a little, about four inches (10cm)."
Mallon, 54, whose 18 LPGA titles included four Majors, recalled the support of a large family and her tennis champion mother's encouragement. Love, 53, who won his lone Major at the 1997 PGA Championship, held his granddaughter in his arms as he called the induction "the greatest honour of my life".
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE