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August 26, 2013

Amateur Lydia Ko: I don't care about $300,000 prize


Lydia Ko is getting defensive. The 16-year old rising star shot a 6-under 64 on Sunday to defend her Canadian Women's Open title and then had to defend her decision to retain her amateur status despite ever-increasing earning potential.

[Ko] bristled when asked about losing out on another $300,000 payday, the Associated Press reported.

"I don't care. I don't care," Ko said. "I can say that a couple more times, if you want."

Ko became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour when she won the 2012 Canadian Women's Open, and with five top 10 finishes on tour in 2013 (including Sunday's victory), hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money has already fallen to her runners-up.

"You know, I've always said I'm thinking about it and that's the same answer right here," Ko told reporters.

The decision of whether and when to turn pro has bedeviled talented young golfers for decades, but modern purse sizes might have made even Bobby Jones blink. There's mounting pressure on young athletes to collect while they can, but for every Tiger Woods -- who left Stanford University behind after two years and has enjoyed all-but-unprecedented professional success since -- there's many more Colt Knosts -- who turned pro after winning the 2007 U.S. Amateur (forfeiting his invitations to the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship) and then failed to make it out of Q School with a 2008 PGA Tour Card.

With so much at stake, at least, as Matt Richens of stuff.co.nz reported, the decision might not be totally up to her.

"I've got some people above me like my mum and dad," Ko said. "They're the boss."

(Photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

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