We are in the closing stretches of the 2015 PGA Tour season, one for the ages when you think about the majors and the names who broke out, and one we will look back on as the year when things in men’s golf changed. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were far from the headlines, as Jordan Spieth,Jason Day and Rickie Fowler had breakout years and were part of a group of 20-somethings who are taking over golf.
But one name who will fall through the cracks in this conversation, as it always seems to happen in sports, is the one who was the most impressive. Lydia Ko, who is still just 18, won her first major championship on Sunday, becoming the youngest to do so in the modern era of golf and finishing it off with a jaw-dropping 63.
So why don’t people seem to care? Why isn’t it a talking point on sports shows?
Who is the Greatest Teenage Golfer of All Time – Male or Female?
Why are people ignoring this incredible accomplishment in an era where youth is everything in our world?
I asked people on Twitter this question Monday. They mentioned the start of the NFL season (OK, fine), the fact that the event was played overseas (still not totally buying that, but I get the time difference), and even gave predictably disappointing answers like she’s not American or the fact that it’s “women’s golf.”
To me, none of these answers is acceptable. Who cares if Ko isn’t American?! Rory McIlroy isn’t American, and when he wins we put him on the cover of our sports magazines and compare his stats to those of Tiger and Jack. When Jason Day won at Whistling Straits, we anointed him one of the new Big Three and discussed whether he might sneak off with Player of the Year honors ahead of Spieth, especially if he closes things out well in the playoffs.
To me, not being an American shouldn’t be an issue in 2015. We love athletes who can do amazing things. Usain Bolt catches our attention. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic capture the national media in a U.S. Open final, and Ko is winning major championships at age 18.
She’s already the greatest teenage golfer, male or female, in the history of golf.
And now she’s winning the biggest of the big with final rounds that match what Johnny Miller did at Oakmont back in 1973.
We as golf fans, and sports fans, need to do better on this front. Ko is making history. It’s our responsibility to start paying attention.
With that, mailbag time. Here we go.
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