We have to take a moment to acknowledge the singular accomplishment of Lydia Ko. At the ripe old age of 17, she has ascended to the top of the mountain. She is now the World No. 1 in women’s golf and the great thing about it is that we can all say we saw this coming from a mile away.
She first attracted our attention when she won four professional tournaments as an amateur. In 2012 and 2013, she played in 16 LPGA events and did not miss a cut. She turned pro in October of 2013 and was granted LPGA status for 2014.
In 2014, she played in 26 events and made 26 cuts and made $2.1 million. She won three times including the CME Group Tour Championship and the $1 million bonus that went with it. She had 12 additional top-10 finishes including two runner-up finishes. And, no surprise, was named Rookie of the Year. She was the youngest player ever to surpass $1 and $2 million in earnings.
For the full year 2014, her scoring average was 70.079 ranking her 6th. Her average driving distance was 249.583 yards ranking her 86th (but she’s long enough and savvy enough that she might have been hitting 3-woods to get it in play). She hit 79.2% of the fairways ranking her 27th. And she hit 74.1% of the greens in regulation ranking her 7th. And the clincher was that she averaged 29.6 putts per round ranking her 29th.
All by the time that she was 17 years, 9 months and 9 days old.
Beyond that, Lydia has played the best golf on the planet at just 5′ 5″ tall proving that you don’t need to be a 330-yard beast to play this game exquisitely.
You do have to be in shape and you do have to practice. And, of course, be one of the most implacable playing personalities in the game. And, she says, have fun.
But at least it’s in reach. It is possible. In theory, of course.