Ko clinches honor with three events remaining in the 2019 LPGA Tour season
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 27, 2019 – The LPGA Tour announced today that Jin Young Ko has earned the 2019 Rolex Player of the Year award for the first time in her career.
With three events remaining on the 2019 LPGA Tour schedule, Ko leads the Player of the Year standings with 241 points, 118 points over 2019 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jeongeun Lee6, and cannot be caught. The Republic of Korea native already secured the 2019 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award after winning the ANA Inspiration and The Evian Championship and finishing third at the AIG Women’s British Open.
“I am so thankful to win the Rolex Player of the Year award. This was one of the best years of my career and to earn this award is one of the best honors I could ever receive. Some of my golf heroes have won this award and I can’t believe that my name is now on the same list,” said Ko. “I want to thank God, my family, my friends and my sponsors for believing in me and helping me reach this goal. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for me.”
Ko, the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, has dominated the leaderboards in 2019, winning four times and recording eight additional top-10 finishes, including three runner-up performances. In 20 starts in 2019, Ko has made every cut and has yet to finish outside the top 30.
She claimed her first victory at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, then followed it up with her first LPGA major championship two starts later at the ANA Inspiration. Ko earned her second major title of the season at The Evian Championship, coming from four strokes back to best 54-hole leader Hyo Joo Kim and win by two shots. She won her most recent LPGA title at the CP Women’s Open, where she became the first LPGA player to win a 72-hole event in bogey-free fashion since countrywoman Inbee Park accomplished the feat at the 2015 HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Ko rose to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings on April 8 after her win at the ANA Inspiration and held the spot for 12 weeks. She again rose to the top spot in the Rolex Rankings on July 29 following her win at The Evian Championship, a position she still holds.
Ko’s four victories are the most by a single player on the LPGA this season, and the most since Ariya Jutanugarn captured five in 2016. With three events left to be played in 2019, Ko leads the Tour in multiple statistical categories. She ranks first on the Official Money List ($2,714,281), leads the Race to the CME Globe (4,148 points), is No. 1 in scoring average (68.933), tops the Tour in greens in regulation (79.7%) and has the most top-10 finishes this season (12). This year, Ko also played 114 bogey-free holes spanning the AIG Women’s British Open, the CP Women’s Open and the Cambia Portland Classic. It is the longest known bogey-free streak in professional golf, breaking the previous mark of 110 holes set by Tiger Woods in 2000.
Ko earned her first LPGA Tour victory in 2017 as a non-member at the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, a win that earned her Tour Membership for the 2018 season. Her impact was felt immediately on the LPGA Tour as she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australia Open, becoming only the second player to win in her debut as aMember. Ko then clinched the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award with four events left in the season after notching an additional 12 top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Since its inception in 1966, Ko is the 24th different winner of the Rolex Player of the Year award. She is the fourth player from the Republic of Korea in the last seven years to receive the honor, following Inbee Park (2013), So Yeon Ryu (2017) and Sung Hyun Park (2017).
Ko will receive the Rolex Player of the Year award at the 2019 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony, to be held on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Tiburon Golf Club during the week of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.