Sunday, February 10, 2013

15-Year-Old Lydia Ko Is the Best Teen Golfer Ever

There have been a lot of phenoms in women's golf over recent decades. So many phenoms, at such a young age, that although they are making their marks in women's golf, they themselves are still girls. Teen-agers.

And among these golfers, Lydia Ko is the best of all-time.

Wait, let me clarify: I have no idea if Ko has an amazing career as a pro golfer ahead of her. (OK, actually I have some idea.) But if we look at the teen girls who've practically fallen out of the womb and onto the LPGA Tour recently, which accomplished the most before turning pro?

No question about it: That's Lydia Ko. And that's what the headline of this post refers to - Ko, who is 15 years old and an amateur as I write this - has already accomplished more than any other teen girl golfer ever.

She's won plenty of important amateur tournaments, including the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur. And - what spurred me to type these thoughts - she just her third pro tournament, the New Zealand Women's Open. She's now the youngest-ever winner on the ALPG (that happened in early 2012, age 14); the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA (that happened in mid-2012, age 15, Canadian Women's Open); and the youngest-ever LET winner.

Ko has already accomplished more - far, far more - as a teen-aged amateur than Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson, Morgan Pressel or Paula Creamer did. Which is also the way I'd rank them:

Greatest Female Golfers Ranked Based on Accomplishments as Teens Before Turning Pro
1. Lydia Ko
2. Michelle Wie
3. Lexi Thompson
4. Morgan Pressel
5. Paula Creamer

These are all players of recent vintage, as you might have noticed. And if you want to make an argument that Marlene Bauer or Aree Song or someone else was better than Ko, go right ahead! But I'm sticking with Ko.

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