Ochoa will be greatly missed
In an age when so many highly paid golf stars are happy to hide behind their sponsored sunshades and under logo-covered caps, golf needs its personalities like never before.
That is especially the case in the women's game which has struggled to replace Annika Sorenstam as its iconic figurehead, so the news that Lorena Ochoa is to retire delivers a big blow to the sport.
The popular Mexican's reasons for walking away are thought to be a desire to spend more time on her family and charity work which she has always said are big priorities in her life.
But to her decision to retire from a game she has dominated at the tender age of 28 still comes as a major shock; never mind Ochoa's undoubted talent, she is also one of golf's most engaging characters.
Ochoa has a ready smile and an abundance of charm to complement her beautifully rhythmic swing and outstandingly imaginitive golfing mind.
When she won the Women's British Open at St Andrews in 2007 it was a hugely popular victory. She played that week under intense pressure, having risen to the top of the world rankings without having a major title to her name.
Ochoa was at the height of her powers and knew she had the chance to correct this anomaly on an historic occasion at the home of golf.
There was widespread belief that she would do it, but as so many players can ruefully recall, living up to such grand expectations is rarely straightforward.
However, the diminutive Ochoa did it in style, with an ever present smile and plenty of humility too. She led from start to finish after opening with the lowest round of the week, a 67, en route to a four-shot victory.
Ochoa receives the trophy after winning the 2007 Women's British Open at St Andrews
Interviewing her that week was a delight as she showed herself to be a true ambassador for the game. Reporters nodded in approval, one recalled playing a pro-am with Ochoa and finding her utterly engaging throughout.
With 27 wins in an eight-year career, including a second major at the 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship, she was one of the LPGA Tour's top calling cards and a prime reason for expanding the schedule into her native Mexico.
Her Central American roots allowed the Tour to broaden its international appeal and offered a key counterbalance to the inevitable pull of the Far East generated by a host of top Asian players.
Sorenstam has offered her support for the decision saying that she understands the thought processes the Mexican must have been going through, but there has to be an inevitable feeling of unfinished business about the early end to Ochoa's career -at the same age, the Swede had won 11 fewer tournaments and had the same number of majors to her name.
Having said that, there are no guarantees that Ochoa would have gone on to dominate the game in the way that Sorenstam did.
There was evidence that her career may have already peaked because last year she managed only three wins compared with eight in 2008 and this season she has yet to win and her demeanour on course has been noticeably more tetchy.
Having married AeroMexico Executive Andres Conesa last December, Ochoa has taken an active role in the lives of his three children. She is also already heavily involved in education projects at home in Guadalajara.
Clearly she sees and covets a life outside sport. Tennis players often go through the same process at a similar age and the phrase "you're a long time retired" echoes around the locker room, but it's not often that way in Ochoa's game.
She seems ready to leave behind competitive golf - but the game will be the poorer for her exit.