Money can wait, says Kiwi schoolgirl sensation Ko

Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:16pm IST

Lydia Ko of New Zealand holds the trophy after winning the LPGA Canadian Women's Open golf tournament in Coquitlam, British Columbia August 26, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Nelms/Files

Lydia Ko of New Zealand holds the trophy after winning the LPGA Canadian Women's Open golf tournament in Coquitlam, British Columbia August 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ben Nelms/Files

REUTERS - New Zealand schoolgirl golfing sensation Lydia Ko, still at the tender age of 15, has said the financial rewards for her astonishing success can wait - for now.

Ko opens the defence of her NSW Open title in Sydney this week, a victory which opened the floodgates on a record-breaking 2012 season.

At 14 she became the youngest player, male or female, to win a professional tournament and after turning 15 the youngest ever winner on the LPGA Tour at the Canadian Open.

"When I went to prize givings and people say what I have done for that year it was like 'Oh my God I actually did that?'" Ko told Australian media on Thursday.

"I'm not a person that when I get a win it sinks in straight away," added Ko, who also won the U.S. amateur championship.

"I was really shocked after seeing what I did. Having an LPGA win as an amateur, it doesn't come that often, so it was a year that's nearly impossible to repeat."

The South Korean-born Ko was also the leading amateur at the British and U.S. Open, rounding off a remarkable 2012 by winning the individual title at the world amateur championship.

"I think I was meant to be the richest sportswomen in New Zealand and it would have been great to have that money," said Ko, also set for a flood of endorsements in the future.

"But especially after the NSW Open because I knew that I wasn't going to get any money anyway, I didn't really have interest.

"I didn't know how much it was until the media said 'you could have got $300,000 at the Canadian Open.' That could have been a nice house."

Ko, who began playing golf in Auckland when she was five, insisted she will turn professional when the time is right.

"There's no point in me going in there when I don't think I'm ready and I'm not that confident," she said. "I think there will be a point in time where I think it's the right time.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to wait many many years. A certain time will come suddenly without me noticing."

Not old enough to drive, Ko was given a parking spot for the defence of her NSW title.

"It gives me a little bit of pressure, especially after they gave me a parking spot," she said. "I was thinking 'Oh my god, I should play well.'

"I came second two years ago, last year, I came first, so my goal at this tournament is top five."

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Tennis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Injury Woes

Injury Woes

Barca's Neymar and Alba out for up to a month.  Full Article 

Wage Issue

Wage Issue

Formula One drivers in talks to resolve pay disputes.  Full Article 

Title Hopes

Title Hopes

Battered Barca in La Liga last-chance saloon.  Full Article 

NBA Preview

NBA Preview

Heat playoff run could decide James' future in Miami.  Full Article 

Serie A Title

Serie A Title

Juventus count down to title and securing Conte.  Full Article 

League Leaders

League Leaders

Liverpool fans need to stay calm for run-in, says Suarez.  Full Article 

World Cup Worries

World Cup Worries

Workers at Olympic venue end strike but issue pay talks warning.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage