Lydia Ko is making it rain. The 18-year-old’s first two years as professional are have netted one hell of a return.
How much did you earn today?
In fact, how much did you earn in the last two years?
Congratulations! But try this on for size: In less than two, full-time seasons on the LPGA Tour, Lydia Ko has already earned more than $7.1million – a shade over $3.9million of which came this year alone.
And if Ko can win the LPGA Tour’s season-long order of merit next month – the Race to the CME Globe – as she did last year, she’ll be in for another seven-figure windfall, bumping up the 18-year-old’s prize money to the thick end of $10million in two years.
That’s even before you get to sponsorships, endorsements or any other commercial agreements – which include major club maker Callaway, an ambassadorial gig for Swiss watch giant Rolex, a huge deal with global management outfit IMG and smaller contracts with trans-Tasman bank ANZ and even Kiwi anti-jetlag pill and drink outfit 1Above.
Cash doesn’t drive Lydia Ko, but when you become a human ATM, there’s no ignoring it either. Like an origami elephant in the room, made out of $100 bills, it’s gonna hove into view at some point.
After a bit of a bad patch early in the season, a return to form has seen Ko carve out a very healthy lead atop the Race to the CME Globe, installing her as the odds-on favourite to take it out for the second year in a row.
With just four events of the race left, it’s already shaping up as a two horse final furlong between Ko and her Korean rival Inbee Park.
Park is a straight-laced, robotic character who just won the career Grand Slam this season (racking up all five major titles). But even that achievement has not guaranteed her top dog status. Instead, over the last week, Ko has been able to boot Park from the world number one ranking. Again.
Moreover, with an almost 1000-point lead in the Race to the CME Globe ( and with a maximum 2000 left on the table) the New Zealander definitely has the inside lane heading home.
This week Ko, for the second straight year, was also announced as one of Time magazine’s 30 most influential teenagers alongside Jaden Smith and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Okay, some of these things are not like the others.
The young Jenners – famous sisters of previously famous siblings who themselves are only famous in the first place for pouting, sheer vanity and a father who got OJ Simpson off the hook, may have more money than Ko but when it comes to talent, Ko certainly has a little more in the bank.
And if she wins the Race to the CME Globe, The LPGA Tour’s season-long points competition, she’ll be adding a cool $1.48million bonus to that steadily growing account.
It would seem all that is standing in her way is a lady called Inbee Park. The Jenner sisters aren’t in the running.