Lydia Ko’s bid to become just the third woman to hold golf’s world No. 1 ranking for 100 consecutive weeks may come to a disappointing end this week. Or next week. Or the week after that.
Ko, who became the youngest No. 1 in golf history at the age of 17, has held the top spot for 83 consecutive weeks. Her current streak is the third longest in Rolex World Rankings history, short of only Lorena Ochoa (158) and Yani Tseng (109).
However, her time at the top is in serious jeopardy during a three-week hiatus that has Ko sidelined until mid-June. In all, there are 22 scenarios that could unfold this week alone that would de-throne Ko from the No. 1 spot. The simpler scenarios include world No. 2 So Yeon Ryu finishing in the top-4 and ahead of third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn, which would give Ryu the top spot. If Jutanugarn finishes in the top-3 and ahead of Ryu, she will knock off Ko.
But if you expect Ko to interrupt her time off for the sole purpose of defending her No. 1 ranking, think again. When she first reached the top spot in February of 2015, she was more focused on the process than the result, and that mindset appears to be the same to this day.
“It’s a huge honor to be in that ranking. All I was focused on was trying to play my best,” Ko said when she became world No. 1 for the first time. “I’m just going to just focus on my golf, not think about the rankings. The rankings always come after the results.”
That logic is the exact reason why Ko’s streak is in jeopardy: The results simply haven’t been there in 2017. In 10 starts, Lydia has managed just one top-5 finish and no wins. If she hopes to maintain — or regain — the No. 1 spot when she returns to competition, she’s going to have to set her sights on the winner’s circle.
The highest paid golfers of 2017:
*Ko is the 44th highest paid golfer and the only female on the list.