After months of speculation, New Zealand phenom Lydia Ko has turned professional.
The 16-year-old, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, just 11 days after Tiger Woods won the first of his 14 majors, made the announcement in a video posted on YouTube.
In the clip, Ko is joined for a round of golf by New Zealand rugby star Israel Dagg and the pair discuss her options and ambitions.
The video ends with the hashtag #KoGoesPro.
Lydia Ko has had a rapid rise to stardom over the past few years. In January 2012, she became the youngest person ever to win a professional golf event after claiming the Women’s NSW Open on the ALPG Tour at the age of 14. A year earlier, she had finished runner-up.
Lydia Ko turns professional sitting fourth on the official women’s world rankings.
In August 2012, at the age of 15 years and four months, she became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event, when she prevailed in the CN Canadian Women’s Open. The win made her only the fifth amateur ever to win on the LPGA, and the first in over 43 years. She successfully defended her title this year, cantering to a five-stroke win over two-time Solheim Cup player Karine Icher.
Lydia Ko turns professional sitting fourth on the official women’s world rankings, helped in no small part to her runner-up finish in the final major of the season, the Evian Masters in France.
It is estimated that Ko has already forfeited in excess of $1million in earnings as a result of her stunning performances as an amateur.
However, before the next stage of her career can really get going, Ko needs the LPGA to waive its minimum age requirement for membership. Still six months short of her 17th birthday, Lydia Ko is a year-and-a-half shy of being eligible. She has, though, petitioned the tour asking them to put aside that requirement. That decision lies solely in the hands of LPGA commissioner Michael Whan who, as yet, has not disclosed his thoughts.
Lydia Ko: A superstar in the making?
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