Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old golf phenom, announced on Wednesday that she is turning pro. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Sixteen-year-old golfer Lydia Ko confirmed on Wednesday morning that she is turning pro, less than two weeks after the No. 4 ranked female in the world petitioned the LPGA to waive its minimum age of 18.
Ko took to Twitter on Wednesday to say she made a "monumental decision" in part because of advice given to her by fellow New Zealander and rugby player Israel Dagg.
New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy called the day a "momentous" one for Ko, and explained why she took to Twitter to announce the decision rather than the perhaps more traditional route of holding a press conference to break the news, according to the Associated Press report:
"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," Murphy said. "She has also been very busy studying for exams and wanted to make this announcement in a different way...Her amateur record ranks right up there among the greats of the game. 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 losing that title. That is a record that is unlikely to be matched by a 16-year-old ever again."
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Ko turns pro after having been the No. 1 ranked female amateur for the past three years. In 2012, she won the Canadian Open at the age of 15, becoming the youngest winner ever of an LPGA tourney. She defended her title again this year and has qualified for all 23 tournaments that she's entered despite her relatively young age.
The CME Group Titleholders tournament in Naples, Fla. next month will be her first event as a pro.