A sixteen year old LPGA phenom turned pro on 23 October. After four wins at the professional level, Lydia Ko decided it was time to make her mark. At 16, see will face tremendous pressure to succeed as she chases her dream as a professional golfer. As the top ranked amateur golfer in the world for 130 weeks, there is not much more she can accomplish at that level. So why not turn pro?
After finishing runner-up to Suzann Pettersen in The Evian Championship in France, Ko announced that she would turn pro in 2014. However on 23 October 2013, Ko stated in a YouTube video featuring New Zealand rugby player Israel Dagg, that she was turning professional immediately and would play her first professional tournament in Florida in mid-November (all details taken from Wikipedia). The video is definitely worth watching!
On October 2013, the LPGA Tour granted Ko’s request to join the LPGA, waiving the Tour’s requirement of members being at least 18 years old. It is not surprising that the LPGA granted her request because she is quickly becoming a world-wide sensation; why not capitalize on this rising star. It is not clear what sparked here decision, however if she made the request to turn pro at the beginning of the current golfing season, she would have earned more than $1 million….tough decision.
This young Kiwi will have some challenges along the way, but with proper coaching and mentoring from the senior players will definitely help to handle the pressures of a professional athlete. Phil Mickelson mentioned last week that Ko needs to pay attention to where she lives and the income tax implications. Great advice to someone whose potential Although is almost limitless.
Many pundits will compare Ko’s decision to that of Michelle Wie who turned pro at 16. Although the endorsement deals for Wie have been beneficial; she has not yet reached the same success on the golf course. Wie’s potential was also through the roof, but the pressure to win was tremendous. Hopefully, Ko will not experience the same challenges! Current after two rounds, Wie and Ko are tied for 23rd at the CME Group Titleholder’s Event in Naples Flordia.
Golf is an interesting sport. At 16, Lydia Ko has accomplished more than most players could only dream. Her future is bright and hopefully she will achieve all her goals and more! Besides the journey while pursuing your dreams is really the best part.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!