Lydia Ko looks to end major drought and enter LPGA Hall of Fame
just set the course record.”
That’s what Lydia Ko’s husband heard his wife say following a weekend practice round at the host site of the Chevron Championship.
“You must have played great,” he responded. But, as many wives can understand, Lydia Ko’s husband either wasn’t fully paying attention or didn’t hear her clearly, because what she really said was:
“I broke the course record in sneezing.”
The pine trees at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas flared Ko’s allergies, but she was happy to get an early look at a new venue.
For the first time in this major’s history, dating to 1972, Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California, will not play host. Instead, it will be Carlton Woods’ Nicklaus Course.
Ko won the event in 2016 for her second major title. It remains her most recent major victory. She’s since endured a lengthy slump and risen from the depths. She won three times last year, including the lucrative season finale, and reached world No. 1 for the first time since 2017.
The major drought, however, has continued. Ending that dry spell this week would not only give her a second Dinah Shore Trophy, it would give her the necessary two points to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
“It would be pretty cool to get it done in the first major of the year and be in the Hall of Fame, but that’s not what’s important to me,” Ko said on Tuesday. “For me, I just want to have a good week and put myself in position, and if I have a chance at it and be the one that’s holding the trophy at the end of the week, that’s pretty awesome. But I don’t think that’s going to be like my driving force going to any of these events this year.”
Because of a disjoined season, this will be Ko’s fourth LPGA start of the year. Thus far, she has a T-6 and a couple of finishes outside the top 30. She did, however, win the LET’s Saudi Ladies event in February.
Ko doesn’t seem to get too high or too low regarding her results, stating, “It’s not this tournament that is going to reflect my career. There’s always next week or the week after or another major championship.”
Understated, is how she would describe herself. And that translates off the course.
Past Chevron champions have been gifted the use of luxury courtesy cars this week. Ko got a Bentley.
“I chose the SUV version [rather] than like the sports convertible, because me in a convertible, in like a mint color car, doesn’t really go very well I don’t think,” she said.
Truth be told, she would be more at ease in a mid-level vehicle.
“Not to say anything negatively about the car that I had the day before, but it’s much more comfortable driving a Mazda than a Bentley,” she said. “I’m not the world’s greatest driver, and I know if I crash into something, the insurance is going to be a lot higher on the Bentley versus probably most other cars.”
Understated and pragmatic.
When she was 17 years old, in 2014, Ko appeared on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” and performed a “driving lesson” in a golf cart with host Damon Hack. She didn’t get her real license until 2020.
“I even went to driving school. I got the proper way on how to forward park and all that,” she said.
“I’m trying to not get too cocky when it comes to driving. Two hands on the steering wheel. I’m a very boring, your standard textbook driver I would say.”
That’s the same kind of approach she’ll take into play on Thursday. And, as anyone can tell you, boring golf often wins major titles.
And regarding those allergies, Ko has that covered.
“One of the players who also struggles with allergies, she said, if you take the gel form it absorbs into your body better,” Ko said. “I don’t know if it’s actually true or not, but I’ve been taking gel form, and it has been working better than a normal pill. It’s a fun fact that – I don’t know if that fact is true or not, but it works for me.”