Jin Young Ko hasn’t teed it up on the LPGA since late August, and now we have a little more clarity as to what the world No. 1 has been up to the past two months.
Ko returned home to South Korea – site of this week’s BMW Ladies Championship – and has been working to heal a wrist injury that plagued much of 2022 for the prolific winner.
“So after Canada (CP Women’s Open), I came back to Korea and took a six to seven week time and got treatment for my wrist and rehabilitated my wrist,” Ko said Tuesday at Oak Valley Country Club in Wonju, South Korea. “I was not able to practice as much as I thought I would but when I did have the time to practice, I really focused on those sessions.”
We’ve seen wrist injuries spell disaster for players over the years, and while Ko’s 2022 season hasn’t been disastrous, there has certainly been a dip in production.
Ko won five times in 2021, with eight more top-10 finishes. 2022 hasn’t proven as fruitful for the 27-year-old, who has won just once – the HSBC Women’s Champions in March – and notched four top-10s to go along with the victory.
Dealing with a wrist injury along with the pressure of being world No. 1 presents a unique set of challenges.
“So I would be lying if I said that there was absolutely no pressure when it comes to maintaining that ranking, but I have to say I am more interested right now in practicing because I want to be more satisfied with my golf instead of the title, the No. 1 player itself,” Ko said. “And as you know, I'm surrounded by very talented players, though I never thought initially that ranking, that title was forever.
"The other players will do their best and I will give it my best. It will be nice to keep that title, but I do not think it's something that you can keep forever to begin with.”
She’ll have to fend off Atthaya Thitikul and Minjee Lee, who have both closed what was an enormous gap between Ko and the rest of the elite players in the world rankings.
Despite still being shy of 100 percent, Ko has no plans to use her wrist as excuse.
“It's not fully okay but I'm not in a lot of pain,” Ko reiterated Tuesday when asked repeatedly about her wrist. “It's really difficult to explain the state of my wrist. But I have to say it's not at its worst and I don't think it's impacting my game that much and if I don't do well, I don't think I can blame it on my wrist.”