Just when you thought the LPGA couldn’t get any younger, the top of the charts for 2016 has been dominated by players who aren’t old enough to rent a car.
Since the prescribed minimum age to rent a vehicle is 25 – unless you pay exorbitant fees – all of the winners on the LPGA would be out of luck this season. Three consecutive events have been won by a teenager (Lydia Ko, 18, in consecutive weeks and then Minjee Lee, 19, last week). The only other multiple winner this season, South Korea’s Ha Na Jang, is also the oldest winner in nine events this year – age 23 years, 10 months and 4 days when she captured the HSBC Women’s Champions in early March. The average age of winners this season is 20 years old.
You can take this trend further, to the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Ko, who turns 19 on Sunday, is No. 1, but she isn’t the youngest top-10er. That would be Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who is ranked seventh at age 18. Fourth-ranked Stacy Lewis, age 31, is the only player older than 27 in the top 10.
“I think just being around the girls your age, I think they’re all your rivals pretty much,” last week’s winner Lee, only the fifth player to win twice on the LPGA before her 20th birthday, said of the youth movement. “You want to beat each other. That’s going to motivate. We’re going to motivate each other by that way.”
This year’s winners and their ages:
|20/6/17||Hyo Joo Kim||Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA|
|23/9/4||Ha Na Jang||Coates Golf Championship|
|23/2/7||Haru Nomura||ISPS Handa Women’s Australian|
|21/0/18||Lexi Thompson||Honda LPGA Thailand|
|23/10/4||Ha Na Jang||HSBC Women’s Champions|
|23/1/8||Sei Young Kim||JTBC Founders Cup|
|18/11/3||Lydia Ko||Kia Classic|
|18/11/9||Lydia Ko||ANA Inspiration|
|19/10/20||Minjee Lee||Lotte Championship|