Forget Rory McIlroy as the next Tiger Woods. Sure, the 23-year-old two-time major champ's got game. Bur our money’s on 15-year-old Lydia Ko, the most recent youngest winner on the LPGA Tour. With colleagues and observers touting the transplanted Kiwi as the real deal, it shouldn’t be long before golf gurus begin comparing the swing of an eight-year-old Ko with that of Tiger at that age. Ko served notice on the best in the women’s game by earning a three-shot win at the Canadian Women’s Open last week. In doing so, she bested the record that Lexi Thompson set just 11 months ago and won accolades from playing partners and seasoned golf observers alike.
''I won two state amateurs at 15. I thought that was pretty unbelievable,'' former LPGA star-turned analyst Dottie Pepper told the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson on Tuesday. ''That kid dusted me.''
Pepper noted that one particular Tiger watcher has had Ko on his radar screen for some time.
''Steve Williams, who caddies for Adam Scott, told me two years ago to watch out for this kid," Pepper told Ferguson. "Come on, now. She's barely 13 years old. 'You want me to watch out for who?' And sure enough, her name started rising as her stock rose. It's been pretty amazing to watch.''
Indeed, Williams -- Woods’ ex-caddie and Ko’s fellow New Zealander -- was among those weighing in on whether Ko has what it takes to be a force in golf and make it into the conversation as Woods’ successor.
''She realistically could be the next Tiger Woods," Williams confirmed to Ferguson. ''She's won everything at every stage. She's really an incredible story.''
Not a bad job on the cartwheels, either, Lydia.