Ko Inks Deal with IMG

Lydia Ko has signed a management and marketing contract with IMG Worldwide. Ko, a 16-year-old New Zealander who rose to No. 1 status as the world's top amateur golfer, turned pro in late October.

Ko is ranked fourth in the latest Rolex World Ranking following her win in the KLPGA's Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters earlier this month.

"I am excited to work with my new team at IMG as I embark on my professional career," said Ko in a statement. "My family and I spoke with many candidates and IMG emerged as the clear choice to represent me, in large part because of their global reach.

"I am comfortable knowing that IMG will commit the appropriate resources to help my career excel while I focus on golf."

Ko won twice - the Canadian Women's Open the past two years - on the LPGA Tour as an amateur. She also won on the Ladies European Tour (the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open in February) and two other professional events as an amateur. Her victory in the KLPGA tournament was her first since turning pro.

Prior to forfeiting her amateur status and turning pro, Ko petitioned the LPGA Tour, which requires members to be 18 years old, for an exemption, which was granted.

Founded by Mark McCormack and founded in 1960, IMG is one of the world's largest agencies representing athletes and entertainers. Among its other LPGA clients are Paul Creamer, Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda, Beatriz Recari and Jaye Marie Green, who was runner-up to Ko in the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur.

Guy Kinnings, global head of golf at IMG, says in a statement on Thursday that Ko "is an incredibly impressive young lady and an astonishing player."

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