by Jeff Skinner
There is good news for Lydia Ko and great news for the LPGA Tour. Commissioner Michael Whan has approved Ko’s petition to join the LPGA as a professional. Ko who is 16 has already won twice on the LPGA and once on the LET needed a special exemption to join the tour before the normally required age of 18.
Ko has proven she’s a force on the course as she has risen to fifth in the Rolex World Rankings as an amateur. Whan has been concerned about the maturity level of these young women who apply for early admission to the tour. But recent players like Lexi Thompson and Morgan Pressel have shown that it can be done successfully.
Ko’s addition to the LPGA will be a definite boon to the tour as the face of the LPGA continues to get young and younger.
Whan’s announcement: “After reviewing Lydia Ko’s petition, I have granted her LPGA Tour membership beginning at the start of the 2014 season. This decision ensures that Lydia can attend all of our LPGA rookie development sessions that take place in the early part of the year.”
“As for her exact playing status for the 2014 season, Lydia will compete out of category 7 on the 2014 LPGA Priority List. Category 7 is reserved for players who have won an official LPGA event as a non-member in the previous calendar year. We are looking forward to having Lydia as a full-time member for the 2014 season. It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back LPGA Tour champion.”
Needless to say, Ko was excited about the announcement: “I am very excited to become a member on the LPGA Tour. It has always been my dream goal to play on the LPGA, and play against the world’s best players. I know that becoming a member is not only performing well, but to deal with responsibilities very well. Women’s golf is growing day by day and I would love to be able to inspire other girls to take up the game, and go for it. I believe this is only the start to my career and I have many new things to learn along the way. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to play with the players I look up to and respect. I can’t wait to start the season early next year.”