It’s official, as if there was any doubt. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan issued the following statement today:
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.
Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner
Whan, alone, has the authority to admit applicants under the ages of 15-18 to the LPGA Tournament Division, which by established policy does not accept applications from women younger than 18.
Sixteen-year old Ko has established her credentials on the professional golf playing ground with indisputable certainty. She’s a 2-time winner of the CN Canadian Women’s Open (2012 & 2013), runner-up at the 2013 Evian Championship, and ranked 5th by Rolex, sandwiched between South Koreans So Yeon Ryu and Na Yeon Choi.
Ko was quick to respond to Whan’s decision:
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.
Ko’s professional debut will be at the CME Group Titleholder’s, November 21-24 in Naples, Florida.
I found Ko’s UTube announcement a bit more entertaining than the office LPGA announcement, and it also offers a lens into this teenager’s joyful approach to the game of golf. Take a few minutes, sit back, and enjoy: