Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
New Zealand's Lydia Ko won the Canadian Open on Sunday aged just 15. Harry How / Getty Images
New Zealand's Lydia Ko won the Canadian Open on Sunday aged just 15. Harry How / Getty Images

Golf being flooded by fountain of youth

Lydia Ko the latest precocious talent, but patience must be applied, too, warns John McAuley.

If you enjoy feeling particularly long in the tooth, or bereft of any real talent, consider Lydia Ko was not even born when Bill Clinton began his second term as president of the United States.

The South Korea-born New Zealander could have spent her infant months marvelling at the philanthropy of Princess Diana or Mother Teresa.

Or, to put in terms Ko would most relate, the 11th day of her life saw golf's newest superstar claim the first of 14 majors.

Ko, just 15 years later, is now being compared to Tiger Woods.

On Sunday, the teenager defeated the cream of the women's game by three shots to seal the Canadian Open and become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history.

The record she trumped? Lexi Thompson, who at 16 emerged victorious from a Navistar LPGA Classic. Thompson, now the Dubai Ladies Masters champion as well, set it only 11 months ago.

Today's stars are getting younger and younger.

At 14, Ko won the New Zealand Stroke Play and Match Play Championships, together with an endorsement from Steve Williams, Woods's former caddie.

"She realistically could be the next Tiger Woods," he said this week.

In June, a 14-year-old Brooke Henderson won a Canadian Women's Tour event, eclipsing Ko's New South Wales Open victory in January to become the youngest winner on a professional tour.

The fountain of youth springs high on the men's circuit, too. Two months ago, Anthony Zhang, 14, was the youngest player to qualify for a US Open and soon found Beau Hossler, three years his senior, peering down at Woods and company from atop the Saturday leaderboard.

Matteo Manassero, an Abu Dhabi ambassador, won twice on the European Tour before his 18th birthday. Ryo Ishikawa was a champion in Japan at 15.

However, such precociousness requires patience. The struggling Michelle Wie, winner of the US Women's Amateur Public Links at 13, is a case in point.

Their achievements may be prodigious, but golf's bright young things remain children. "When I go back to New Zealand I actually have an external Cambridge [University] exam, so I'm going to be really studying a lot and putting golf at the back," Ko said on Sunday. "Yeah, I need to pass my exams and get good results for that." Feel old?


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Yuvraj Singh, left, and Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrating after they won their IPL match against Delhi Daredevils at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 action at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s power-hitters laid down a marker at the first opportunity in IPL 2014 as they cruised past a hapless Delhi Daredevils with eight wickets, 20 deliveries, and about three more gears to spare in front of a packed house at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Opening performance during Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi. Mona Al-Marzooqi/ The National

In pictures: Day 3 of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

All the action from Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi.

 Atletico Madrid's Cristian Rodriguez, second left, celebrates his goal with team mates, and coach Diego Simeone, third right. Atletico are on the cusp of a Primer Liga title. AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Atletico Madrid look to edge towards Primera Liga title before Chelsea visit

Diego Simeone's men need to win just four of their five remaining games to seal the Primera Liga championship and they take on Elche before the first leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on Tuesday.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National