Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - LPGA Tour commissioner Michael Whan received Lydia Ko's application for early admission to the tour some time ago.
His decision wasn't expected to come as early as it did, but the decision was an easy one, and the correct one.
Ko, who turned pro last week in a cheeky YouTube video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeKlla_Tn5E), was granted full status on the LPGA Tour starting in 2014. She won't turn 17 until next April, and needed to petition the commissioner because LPGA rules state a player must be 18 years old to join the tour.
Players may petition the commissioner any time after they turn 15. Ko chose to do so, and became the first player since Lexi Thompson to be granted tour membership prior to her 18th birthday.
Thompson was originally denied the exemption by Whan, but he changed the rules allowing her to Monday-qualify for events. That gave Thompson the chance to play more than 12 events in 2011.
Thompson not only won an LPGA Tour event that year, she also won on the Ladies European Tour (LET). With both of those wins, she was the youngest professional winner in tour history.
A few months later, Ko broke Thompson's record. Ko won the Bing Lee/Samsung Women's NSW Open at the age of 14.
Ko, who is of Korean decent, but resides in New Zealand, was the youngest winner of a professional tournament at the time, but that mark has since been taken by Brooke Henderson, who at 13, won on the Canadian Women's Tour.
Ko also has won the New Zealand Women's Open as well as the last two Canadian Women's Opens. The second of which will give her membership to the LPGA Tour in 2014.
The teenager has won four pro events, spread over three different tours.
Was there any chance Whan was going to deny her? We may never know, because other than announcing he has accepted Ko's request, Whan states that each petition is a private matter between the commissioner and the player.
Frankly, Whan would have looked silly if he denied this request. If that happened, Ko would have made a similar request to the LET, and that tour may have accepted said request.
That would have reflected poorly on Whan if that information had become public knowledge, but he wasn't going to let that happen.
When a player like Ko has risen as high as fourth in the women's world rankings requests to join your tour, you say yes.
Ko's only issues will be traveling from New Zealand and completing her school work. She said in a conference call Monday that she expects her mother will travel with her for the near future.
Her family will not relocate just yet. Once her endorsement paychecks start rolling in, that could change things. Ko has yet to decide on what management company she will sign with, and also will continue to play the clubs that are currently in her bag.
"I'm not really sure. I guess it will be different to get money after a week's worth of golf. But I haven't really thought about it," Ko said when asked what she'll do with her first paycheck.
Ko was nonplussed about the decision and the added attention. She seems more worried about her school work.
"We have two papers for English language, and I've got one on Friday. I'm really nervous about the one coming up. It's on commentary stuff. Yeah, I'm really nervous," Ko admitted. "And next week I've got my photography exam. I'm super excited for that. It's about being creative. You can't really go wrong. But something like English or math you can definitely go wrong."