Imagine being mentioned along with Derrick Rose, Wayne Gretzky, Johnny Bench, Jim Brown and Tiger Woods. Well, that’s Lydia Ko. In 2015, at just 18 years old, she won the LGPA’s Player of the Year award. Among the four major sports in the U.S. (football, baseball, basketball and hockey), along with the PGA, Ko is the youngest person to win an MVP/Player of the Year award. Wayne Gretzky is the only other player under 20-years of age to win an MVP award.
“At the start of the week, I would say the biggest trophy that would mean a lot to me would be the Rolex Player of the Year,” Ko said. “I’m so thankful to my team. I’m still emotional.”
In just two year, Ko was the fastest person in professional golf’s history – male or female – to reach ten wins in their career, which included wins at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and The Evian Championship, among others.
Winning her league’s MVP wasn’t her only major accomplishment, she put the icing on the cake winning the CBE Globe Title, which is the tour’s season-long points race. For the second consecutive year, she received the LGPA Tour’s $1.5 million bonus for finishing first in points.
The New Zealand native now sits at No. 9 in the LPGA player rankings and at 19 career wins. She doesn’t even turn 21 until April of next year.
Ko didn’t experience the same success this past 2016 season, however, as she put up a goose egg in the win column and finished in just 16th place in the Tour Championship. But the former Rookie of the Year shouldn’t worry, she’s far from the prime of her career and will look to dominate the field for years to come.