Since Lydia Ko took the Rolex No. 1 world ranking, she hasn’t shown any signs that all the expectations that go with it have been heavy baggage to carry.
She says she senses a higher standard expected, though, as she tees it up at the HSBC Women’s Champions Thursday (Wednesday at 9:04 p.m. ET) looking to win her third consecutive event.
“I have had such a great last two weeks, so, obviously there's expectation,” Ko said in her pre-tournament news conference. “You're world No. 1, and a lot of people think you should win every week because you are, but that's really not the case.”
Ko’s back-to-back victories at the Women’s Australian Open and New Zealand Women’s Open have built her a rankings cushion that assures she will take the world No. 1 title into next week, a sixth consecutive week atop the rankings, no matter what happens in Singapore. No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis are in the field this week but can’t catch Ko.
“World No. 1, hearing it, it's pretty exciting stuff,” Ko said. “But when I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about it. It's always been my dream, and, hopefully I can become one of the world's greatest female golfers, and I'm right there. Obviously, I have a lot of things to work on still. It's an exciting time.”
Ko, who turns 18 on April 24, already has 10 worldwide victories, six of them LPGA titles. She’s playing with Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson this week.
“It's not very surprising that she's world No. 1,” Wie said. “She's probably the most solid, well‑rounded golfer out there right now. It's very shocking that she's 17 when you look at her.
“She's so mature. She's got such a good head on her shoulders. Physically, too, she hits the ball very far and straight and she putts well. So, I think it wasn't very surprising when she became world No. 1. She's very solid. There are really no holes in her game.”