To those who didn’t know her, the moment seemed extraordinary, the kind of thing you tell your buddies for weeks and relay to your eye-rolling grandkids for years.
In the middle of January, 21-year-old Lydia Ko entered the final round of the LPGA’s inaugural Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions tied for the lead, a position from which she almost always had prevailed. No LPGA player with 10 or more victories had fewer blown third-round leads than Lydia. And this one would have been especially sweet. In the first event of her sixth season on tour, and almost seven years since she became the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event at the ripe old age of 15 years and 4 months, Ko could have sent a message that cold Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Fla.:
“I’m back, baby.”
The LPGA Mediheal Championship outside San Francisco last April had been Ko’s only victory in two and a half years, part of a career roller coaster that had produced 15 LPGA wins, two major titles, and a slew of “youngest-ever” records. She went in the record books alongside the likes of Young Tom Morris and Tiger Woods, all before she was old enough to legally buy a drink. Then she hit a rough patch in which she drove it shorter and more crooked, a crushing combination for anyone making a living in the game. Ko tumbled from a solid No. 1 in the world (at age 17, the youngest person – man or woman – to reach that mark) down to 18th.
Lydia Ko after winning the LPGA Mediheal Championship
Her victory in ...
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