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On her 17th birthday, Lydia Ko featured on Time's 100 Most Influential People list

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

She's been called a phenom, a prodigy, and now, by Time magazine, a pioneer.

In its annual list of the world's Top 100 Most Influential People, released Thursday, Lydia Ko featured as one of just five athletes -- and the only professional golfer -- on the list. Jason Collins, Richard Sherman, Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo were the other athletes honored. Ko now joins a short but prestigious group of LPGA golfers to make the list, which includes the likes of Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam.

"She's leading golf’s youth movement," says Annika Sorenstam, who wrote the item on Ko. "She is responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe."

Related: My Shot: Lydia Ko

Ko, who coincidentally turned 17 on the same day the list was released, rocketed into the spotlight after consecutive wins as an amateur at the LPGA's CN Canadian Women's Open in 2012 and 2013. A month before turning pro last October, Ko also finished T-2 in the 2013 Evian Championship -- the final major of the 2013 LPGA season.