Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Lydia Ko-LPGA Winner!


On many levels, Lydia Ko’s victory in the final LPGA event of the season is truly remarkable. She became the 2014 CME Group Tour Championship winner, and took home the inaugural CME Race to the CME Globe, and the one million dollar prize, to boot!


Not only that, but she won $ 500 000 for winning the event. That puts her earnings well over the two million mark for the season, and she maintains her status as third in the world. Imagine what she will accomplish once she reaches her 18th birthday!


You read that correctly. In one interview session last week, she was warned not to put any alcohol in her tea, as she is still a minor. And she was a minor when she won her first LPGA event in Canada. She won the 2012 and the 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open events, both as an amateur. This was her third LPGA victory this year.


Once she had captured the title, in a playoff, she fielded several questions, in a remarkably composed manner. She has to explain her circumstances to her friends back home in New Zealand. “Sometimes they’re, like, Oh my God, you’re a millionaire, and blah, blah, blah! But the great thing about my friends is most of them don’t play golf. When I’m hanging around with them,  we don’t talk about golf, or the hook I hit on 7 or whatever. So that’s what I really love. I can get off the course, get my mind free, and just be a teenager.” Truly, quite remarkable.


When she had finished the final round of the tournament, she was required to play in a playoff against Carlota Ciganda from Spain. She had already tucked away a million dollars at that point, but that didn’t seem to have a great impact. “I thought I would be much more nervous than I really was. I said, Okay, let’s just hit the fairway and put myself in good positions. At the end of the day I won, so it’s been amazing.”


Michelle Wie also had a shot at the big money. She did play well, but came up just short. Stacy Lewis completed her season in style, taking home the “Player of the Year” title, the Vare Trophy, and the Money Title. She is the first American to do so since Betsy King did it in 1993.


Several veterans also played a round of golf with the LPGA players prior to the actual tournament. This tied in with the “Wounded Warriors Project”. Throughout the year, the CME Group donated$ 1 000 to the project for every eagle posted by the LPGA players. More than $ 300 000 was raised in this manner this past year.


                                                                     Laura Diaz
Laura Diaz kept a watchful eye on her foursome as they played through the rain. B. J. Jackson, originally from Iowa, appreciated her suggestions. I have never played so well he told me. I wish she could keep on eye on my game all the time! She pointed out a couple of items for sand shots. Jackson stroked the ball from the trap within inches of the cup. Great success.


Laura’s father walked the course with the group. He hailed from upper New York State, and worked at one time at Union College in the sports area. We talked about skate sharpening, discussing the finer points. I told him that the father of the Mahovlich brothers looked after blades at the Leaside Arena in Toronto. He knew Peter from the Glenns Falls area, where Pete golfs. Always a small world.


Ko has also been named as the LPGA “Rookie of the Year”. She did not miss a cut last year in 12 events, and she made the cut in every event she played in 2014. She began the season thinking, “Go out there and have fun, have a couple of top ten finishes, and really just learn more about the tour and what it’s like to play on the tour full time.”


She still is not completely happy with her game. “I think my game needs work in every area. On the day I am hitting the ball well, I wasn’t pitting well. So this week my putting really helped, and that’s one of the biggest things I’m going to work on.”


She appreciated visits from her mother and father and her brothers during the week.


Golfers were most impressed with the course called Tiburon, in Naples, Florida. There were nasty winds, and a bit of rain. All in all, a great week for women’s golf, and a pretty fair week for the young Ko girl!


Time to head back to Aukland, for a little home cooking!!



James Hurst



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