Lydia Ko, one of the most renowned and accomplished women’s golfers of the past decade, hasn’t allowed marriage to diminish her performance in the 2023 golf season. While the results may not reflect it yet, the 26-year-old golfer from New Zealand expressed that she’s currently enjoying her professional career more than ever because of her marriage.
Ko, who received the title of 2022 Rolex LPGA Player of the Year and attained the world’s number one ranking, tied the knot with Jun Chung, a Hyundai executive and amateur golfer from San Francisco, on December 30 in South Korea.
Ko revealed that even during their dating phase in 2021, Chung motivated her to become a better golfer and person. She mentioned that her motivation levels were not particularly high at one point, but meeting him changed that.
Ko now finds herself enjoying golf significantly more than before, contrary to her previous reluctance to spend her free time on the golf course. In fact, during their honeymoon in Bali, the couple played golf for eight days out of the two-week trip. Ko admitted that she initially didn’t plan on bringing her golf clubs, but the experience turned out to be fun and served as valuable practice for her offseason training, which eventually led to her winning the Saudi Ladies International event.
Despite the challenges of constantly moving across different time zones, Ko expressed her gratitude for Chung’s understanding and his genuine interest in learning about her life and routines. Throughout her career, which began in 2014, Ko has secured 19 LPGA titles, including two majors, and earned a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In the current year, Ko has had a modest start to her season as the 2022 LPGA Player of the Year. She failed to make the cut in the first major tournament, the Chevron Championships in Texas. However, Ko mentioned that her mood is no longer affected by a poor round of golf. In the past, a bad day on the course would cause her to question her self-confidence and feel like a failure. Now, she believes that hard work and enjoying the process will eventually lead to success and brighter days.
Last year was a standout year for Ko, with three LPGA victories, including the Gainbridge event and the season-ending CME Tour Championship, where she received the largest winning check in women’s golfing history, worth $3 million. This success propelled her to the world’s number one ranking at the end of 2022 for the first time since 2017. Ko acknowledged that her career has had its ups and downs, including a period of three winless years, but she emphasizes the importance of trusting the process.
Ko also has a significant presence on social media, boasting 262,000 Instagram followers. While some athletes may be deterred by the negativity often found on social media platforms, Ko believes that it is a valuable tool for promoting women’s golf and engaging with fans. Since golfers frequently travel to different countries for tournaments, social media allows them to maintain a connection with fans beyond the limited timeframe of each event.
Despite residing in Orlando, Ko rarely visits South Florida and had never played at the Trump International Golf Course before the Aramco Team Series event in West Palm Beach. Her last visit to the area was in 2021 for an Ernie Els charity event.
Nevertheless, she expressed her excitement about experiencing the course and described it as beautiful, with hot and humid weather. Ko noted that the course offers both long and short holes, with relatively small greens that provide opportunities for birdies but can be challenging to reach. She believes that ball striking will be crucial for success and anticipates an enjoyable few days of competition.
The Aramco Team Series, sponsored by a Saudi Arabian oil company, features a