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Lydia Ko Announces Turning Pro With Video
Top-ranking amateur Lydia Ko has opted for an unusual method to announce her much-speculated decision to turn professional at the age of 16, and has forgone more than $1 million in potential prize money in the process.
Ko chose not to hold a formal news conference to confirm what many had already expected; instead she released a short, scripted video in which she debates the merits of turning pro with the All Blacks rugby player Israel Dagg.
The video shows Dagg losing to Ko in a game of golf and then telling her: "If you can beat me, then you can definitely handle the pressure of going pro. It must be time now."
A nodding Ko then replies: "Okay, I'll do it ... right now, right this second."
Ko then alerted her legion of Twitter followers to the video and her decision by posting: "made a monumental decision today with a little help from my @AllBlacks friend @Izzy--Dagg #LOVEGolf."
New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy explained that Ko “was reluctant to hold a traditional press conference” because she “didn’t want to make a big fuss about news that had already been reported in the media in recent weeks.”
Murphy said of Ko’s decision: "This is a very momentous day for Lydia and we are so thrilled that she has chosen such a unique and entertaining way to share her news with her fans today. She has also been very busy studying for exams and wanted to make this announcement in a different way."
The LPGA Tour recently revealed on October 10 that it received a petition from Ko asking that it waive its minimum age requirement of 18.
Murphy added that Ko’s career as an amateur “has been phenomenal.”
"Her amateur record ranks right up there among the greats of the game," Murphy said. "She has won four (tour) titles, claimed the U.S. and Australian Amateur titles, climbed to No.4 on the World Rankings and has been the World No. 1 amateur for more than two years without ever losing that title.
"That is a record that is unlikely to be matched by a 16-year-old ever again."