By Carlos Calvo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A tearful Lorena Ochoa said a lack of motivation for golf and a desire to spend more time with her family had prompted her surprise decision to quit at the age of 28.

"I always wanted to retire as the world number one and this is the moment," the Mexican told reporters on Friday, crying as she read a letter thanking her parents for their support.

"I want to dedicate to my family the time I have taken from them all these years."

She explained on Friday she felt a loss of passion for the game at the turn of the year.

"When I started in the first two tournaments in Asia ... I realized I didn't feel that motivation and that I wanted to start a new life," said Ochoa.

She will be sorely missed not only because she became the game's most dominant player but also due to the fact she helped push women's golf into the spotlight in Mexico, a country absorbed with soccer.


"They won't surpass me because I leave as the best," she said of her fellow competitors.

Talk of Ochoa's retirement has been a hot topic since she married the chief executive of Mexican airline AeroMexico in her home city of Guadalajara last year.

The golfer said recently she was likely to take a break to have children.

Ochoa first picked up a golf club at the age of five and was soon winning junior competitions. She also excelled at athletics, tennis, swimming and basketball before choosing to concentrate on golf.

The LPGA's player of the year from 2006 to 2009, Ochoa enrolled at the University of Arizona on a golf scholarship in 2000 but left after her sophomore year to turn professional.

(Writing by Robin Emmott, editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)