After watching Park and Lewis, Ko takes the stage


NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko says the tables have turned on her this year at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko watched Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis enter last year’s season-finale battling for the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy and money title. While Lewis swept those three honors, Ko walked away with the biggest payday in the history of women’s golf, winning the $500,000 first-place check and the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

This week, Ko and Park are battling for the Rolex No. 1 world ranking, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the money title and the CME Globe.

Ko remembers the hype building over that Park and Lewis battle a year ago.

“I said, 'Oh, man, they must have so much pressure,'" Ko said. “I'm just going to go out there and try and have fun. That's what I thought. And now I'm in that situation.”

Ko became the youngest Rolex world No. 1 earlier this year and the youngest women’s major champion. She could become the youngest Rolex Player of the Year and youngest Vare Trophy winner this week. How is she approaching things?

“I've just got to concentrate on my game,” Ko said. “I know there's obviously a lot of things on the line at the end of Sunday, but if I end up thinking about all the things, like Player of the Year, or Vare Trophy, or the race, or the tournament, I think it's way too much, because when we're out there, we're just trying to hit good shots, trying to make a lot of good putts and give ourselves good looks for birdies.”