Lydia Ko turns pro, files petition with LPGA

Lydia Ko's amateur days are over. (USATSI)
Lydia Ko's amateur days are over. (USATSI)

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Lydia Ko is 16 years old has decided to turn pro in golf. There's one problem with that, the LPGA won't allow it.

The LPGA's age restriction is 18 and while are there is precedent of them waiving this restriction -- as Ko is asking them to do in her case -- it's not set in stone that they will.

The Associated Press noted that it's basically a one-person committee making the decision.

"LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan was traveling from Asia on Thursday and not immediately available to comment. Whan, who two years ago granted such a petition to Lexi Thompson, has sole discretion whether Ko can join the tour early. The LPGA said Whan would be in contact with Ko and her family."

It's a smart move for the 16-year-old Ko even if some outside the sport might not think so.

She's won twice on the LPGA Tour and would have earned close to $1 million this season if she had been playing as a pro. 

Her mother broke the news to Golf Channel earlier this week that Ko would not be participating in golf events anymore as an amateur.

"Ko’s mother, Tina Hyon, told Wednesday that Lydia, 16, will make the trip to Naples, Fla., for the tour’s season-ending event, and she’s also considering a possible spot in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico, the week before the CME Group Titleholders.

'If she plays any pro events now, she will play as a pro,' Hyon wrote in an email."

Ko has been who I think everybody thought Michelle Wie would be. Supremely talented, as most are, but with an innate ability at a young age to mentally cope with the ups and downs of playing golf for a living.

I hope the LPGA sees it the same way -- they could use a superstar like her on Tour.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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