This week's CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., has major implications for both Lydia Ko and the rest of the LPGA. Ko will attempt to capture the tour's player of the year award (again), claim the $1 million bonus (again), and keep her World No. 1 ranking. But you have to forgive the 19-year-old phenom if she's already looking forward to a different tournament next year.
On Wednesday, Ko was on hand to help the LPGA announce a new event, the McKayson New Zealand Women's Open, which instantly holds a special place in her heart.
“I am so excited with this announcement to bring the LPGA to my hometown in Auckland,” said Ko. “I am honored to be the first player to sign up to play. It is going to be amazing for me and my family to host my LPGA friends in my country. I want to see golf grow in New Zealand and more women playing the game, so this news today is fantastic.”
Previously, the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open was part of the Ladies European Tour schedule and took place in Christchurch. Ko is a three-time winner of the event.
The new tournament will take place Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Windross Farm GC in Auckland. It will be the first LPGA or PGA Tour event to take place in New Zealand.
Ko was born in South Korea, but moved to New Zealand as an infant. She won a silver medal representing the country this summer at the Rio Olympics.