January 15, 2014 10:06
Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko has signed a sponsorship contract with Callaway Golf. The sports equipment maker said on Tuesday that it is proud to support the "former World No. 1 amateur and youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour." Ko will use Callaway clubs and Odyssey putters.
Callaway did not disclose details of the deal, but Ko is expected to receive over US$1 million a year. After turning professional last October, the teenager signed a contract with global sports management firm IMG and a sponsorship deal with banking group ANZ Financial Planners.
Industry insiders expect to see her courted by more sponsors this year.
Ko won the Women's New South Wales Open in 2012 and became the youngest golfer to claim a title on the U.S. LPGA tour at the age of 15 years and four months by winning the CN Canadian Women's Open that same year. After successfully defending her title in Canada last year she became the first amateur to win two LPGA tour events in the history of the sport.
Last November, she added the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters title to her list of accomplishments within just over a month of turning pro, marking her fifth win at a professional event. She is currently ranked world No. 4.
Among female golfers, Michelle Wie has bagged the most lucrative sponsorship deal to date. When Wie turned professional in 2006, she signed two separate $5-million deals with Nike and Sony. Wie earned just $735,224 in prize money that year but raked in $20.24 million in total through endorsements and sponsorship deals.
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