by Jeff Skinner
While Sergio Garcia was handing over his lead to eventual winner Nick Watney at The Barclays a teenager was making history on the LPGA Tour. Fifteen year old Lydia Ko stole the golfing show today as she became the youngest player to ever win an LPGA event at fifteen years, four months when she won the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She breaks the record of Lexi Thompson who just set the mark less than a year ago when she won the Navistar LPGA Classic.
Ko who is South Korean but raised in New Zealand bested a world class field of women golfers as she cruised to a three victory over Inbee Park. Playing with former world number one Jiyai Shin and current world number two Stacy Lewis, Ko looked in total control all day. She showed no signs of stress as she started her back nine with birdies on five of her first six holes. It was all over but the cheering then and there.
What is even more amazing than her play on the course was her demeanor during the round and her composure afterwards. She was all smiles all day and showed the nerve and grace of a player with decades of experience not one that is barely half way through her second decade.
Ko was poised and sincere in her remarks afterwards as she thanked her LPGA playing partners, her caddie, the tournament staff and everyone else that happened to be in the area. She truly seems like an wonderful young woman but while this is a great accomplishment for her what does this say about the LPGA Tour?
This wasn’t an insignificant tournament. The CN Canadian Women’s Open had a top field of golfers on a world class course and an amateur beats them all? Is this the type of publicity the LPGA needs, handing the trophy to an amateur and the check to the second place finisher?
And where were the American golfers? The best American in the world, Stacy Lewis started in second place but faded to a tie for sixth with a 72.
This win is a double edged sword for Michal Whan’s tour. It was a truly remarkable week for young Lydia Ko but the LPGA needs its members to be the ones making the headlines with stellar rounds and amazing wins.
Lydia Ko is a fantastic story and a very likable kid and it was enjoyable to watch her moment in the sun. But the LPGA needs its players to be the stars for the tour to stay in America’s sports consciousness.