How long before Ko turns pro?

By Randall MellFebruary 11, 2013, 10:21 pm

How long will Lydia Ko keep turning down lucrative paychecks to remain an amateur?

The question grows stronger with the 15-year-old sensation preparing to play in the LPGA’s season opener this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

While Ko’s bank account may not be swelling after winning her third professional title as an amateur in the last 53 weeks, she is on a swift climb in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

At 15 years, 9 months and 17 days old, Ko won the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open on Sunday to become the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour event. She became the youngest winner of an LPGA event when she claimed the CN Canadian Women’s Open last summer. She also won the New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour in 2012.


Lydia Ko: Articles, photos and video


As a pro, Ko would have taken home $41,000 for Sunday’s win in New Zealand (as converted to U.S. currency). Ko, however, remains an amateur and didn’t take home any of it. Last year, she left $300,000 on the table winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She left $19,000 on the table winning the New South Wales Open.

In 12 starts in professional events, Ko has won three times and finished second twice. Overall, as an amateur, she has won more than $470,000 that she hasn’t collected in professional events. That’s also converted to U.S. currency.

As an amateur, however, Ko still gets the Rolex World Rankings points.

Ko jumped to No. 30 in the Rolex rankings with her win Sunday. She jumped from oblivion to No. 184 when she won the New South Wales Open late in January 2012. She moved up to No. 45 winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open last summer.

At No. 30 in the world now, Ko ranks ahead of Sandra Gal (No. 33), 2011 LPGA rookie of the year Hee Kyung Seo (No. 34), two-time LPGA winner Morgan Pressel (No. 41) and two-time LPGA winner Michelle Wie (No. 66).

Ko gets another chance to improve her rankings position this week when she tees it up in the LPGA’s season opener. She’s playing the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open on a sponsor’s invitation. She also will be playing the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April as one of the nine amateurs offered an invitation to play in the year’s first major championship.

When Ko won in Canada last summer, she spoke of her intent to remain an amateur, even attend college, with a desire to attend Stanford.

Though all this success may be complicating Ko’s future plans, her swing coach, Guy Wilson, told the New Zealand Herald that she plans to remain an amateur for a couple more years. He said her playing opportunities would be too limited if she turned pro now and had to play as a non-member with restricted exemptions on a major women’s tour. He said, however, her priorities may be changing as they relate to playing collegiately.

“She will turn pro as soon as she can, really, to take advantage of the opportunities available to her,” Wilson told the New Zealand Herald. “There’s no point creating this massive profile and then not using it.”

Wilson said college is still a possibility, but . . .

“It’s not the biggest option as yet,” Wilson told the New Zealand Herald. “She wanted to do some college golf, but she’s starting to realize that, hey, that is probably not the best plan, and she should make hay while the sun shines.”

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.