RYE, New York (Reuters) - Lydia Ko is surprised that she is still the number one player in the women’s game, but the 18-year-old from New Zealand has been shocking the golf world for years.
“When they said you’re going to be world number one, I said, this could be like a one-week deal and I‘m back down again,” Ko told reporters on the eve of the Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club, the second major of the season.
Nearly 20 weeks on, seven-time LPGA winner Ko remains top of the hill.
“It’s pretty amazing that I‘m still world number one right now,” said the likeable teenager, who moved at age seven with her family from South Korea to New Zealand.
The amazing Ko was 17 in February when she vaulted into the top spot as the youngest golfer of any gender to assume the number one ranking.
She was 12 when she made the cut in her first professional tournament. At 14, she became the youngest winner of a pro event at the 2012 NSW Open in Australia.
At age 15, Ko became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour with a victory at the 2012 Canadian Open.
All that is missing from her remarkable resume is a major championship, but Ko said she is in no hurry about it.
In fact, the unassuming, 5-foot-2 (1.57 m) Ko thinks talk about her winning a major will gratefully die down after her next birthday -- because of anticipation she could break Morgan Pressel’s record as youngest women’s major winner at age 18.
“Yeah, I think when I hit 19, I think that will be great, because obviously the record, Morgan’s record. There’s a lot more talk about this major-winning deal because there is that record.”
That does not mean Ko is not looking forward to snaring a major before her announced plan to retire at age 30.
”I would just love to win a major some time from now and 12 years, just some time -- because Callaway (a sponsor), they give you a golden putter when you win a major, so I would love to keep one of those.
“But yeah, it doesn’t need to be this week. It doesn’t need to be the U.S. Open. I‘m just hoping it’s just one time in my career.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes