Jin Young Ko Profile
|Name||Jin Young Ko|
|Born||Jul 07, 1995|
|Birthplace||Seoul, South Korea|
The Korean golfer is not a long-hitter, but her strong game plans and excellent mental strength has allowed her to reach the top of the women’s game.
Jin Young Ko was an unknown Korean 20-year-old when she competed in the 2015 Ricoh Women's Open at Turnberry, but she led throughout much of the weekend and only the world class qualities of her compatriot Inbee Park prevented her lifting the trophy.
Her future seemed golden and yet she was reluctant to test herself on the LPGA and therefore remained on the Korean LPGA until the 2018 season.
The following year she won two Major Championships, rose to No. 1 in the world rankings, and ended the year voted the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year.
In addition to the Covid-related disruption to the 2020 season, she also had to deal with injury and a subsequent loss of form, but she won the season-ending Tour Championship.
The first half of 2021 proved a little tricky and she lost top spot in the rankings to Nelly Korda, but four wins in late summer and the autumn saw her close the gap.
Success at home
Ko turned professional in 2013 at the age of 18 and was almost immediately competitive on what is a very tough circuit.
Her first win arrived in 2014, she added three wins in 2015, another trio in 2016, and yet another hat trick the following year.
In all this time she limited her ventures onto the Ladies European Tour and LPGA, despite that precocious success at Turnberry.
But she was victorious in the LPGA/KLPGA co-sanctioned Hana Bank Championship on home soil in late 2017 and then announced she would play the following year on the LPGA.
The near-breakthrough at Turnberry
Ko had arrived in Scotland with absolutely no experience of links golf and didn't play very much of it during the practice days, but she did hire local caddie Jeff Brighton.
He was a long-time member at the course and the union proved profitable.
Ko asked Brighton to tell her where to hit the ball and what club to use. Simple instructions, she followed them every time and executed the shots brilliantly.
It was her Major Championship debut and yet she was second at halfway, the joint leader after 54 holes, and led the event when she made the turn in the final round.
The pressure told a little, but only the great Inbee Park passed her.
It was an astounding debut and a few weeks later she finished T28th in her second Major at the Evian Championship.
To the surprise of many she played just two Majors in 2016, part of her plan to remain close to home.
Transfer to the LPGA
Ko reminded the world of her class with T15th in the 2017 US Women's Open and three months later she won the Hana Bank Championship in Seoul.
With it she earned a full LPGA card for 2018 and this time she decided to the opportunity.
She opened the year with wire-to-wire success at the Women's Australian Open and made the cut in four of the year's five Majors.
She was eventually named the LPGA's Rookie of the Year.
Ascent to No. 1
Having settled herself in America in that first year, Ko moved quickly through the gears in 2019.
She finished top three in five of her first six starts, including two wins, the second of them at the ANA Inspiration - her maiden Major Championship.
She would finish top 25 in all five of the year's Majors and add a second win in July's Evian Championship.
Her fourth win of the year came in the Canadian Open, a week when she carded a tournament record 26-under-par total and won by five strokes.
She didn't make a bogey all of the week and actually extended that run to a Tour record 114 holes.
She won the LPGA money rankings, the Vare Trophy (lowest score average) and Player of the Year.
Her win at the ANA Inspiration also saw her reach the top of the world rankings.
In 2020, injury and Covid restrictions limited her starts to just four on the LPGA and yet, in finishing second at the US Women's Open and winning the Tour Championship, she yet again won the money rankings.
She struggled to ride the wave into early 2021 and, despite twice finishing tied seventh in the Majors, she hit July with no victory and having lost the World No. 1 spot to Nelly Korda.
That all changed very quickly, prompted by a run of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s (which tied Annika Sorentam's LPGA record).
She won her first start in July, added another win in September, and then a pair of victories in October.
Jin Young Ko's personal life
Ko hails from Seoul and she has written for the LPGA about the close relationship she had with her grandparents.
She added that she is unusual among Korean players in not having parents who play golf. Her father was a boxer and her mother got into the game late in life.
Ko herself was inspired by watching video of Se Ri Pak winning the 1998 US Women's Open.
Having a close family, and speaking very little English, she was not ready to travel internationally before 2018.
Jin Young Ko's net worth
Jo's LPGA career earning amount to over $7.5million.
Adding in KLPGA earnings and sponsorship, her net worth might be estimated at $9million.