Updated: Friday, 13 December 2013 11:49 | By Agence France-Presse

Teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko signs with IMG

New Zealand teen sensation Lydia Ko announced Friday she had signed with management giant IMG Worldwide, just two months after turning professional following a stellar amateur career.


Teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko signs with IMG

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club on November 22, 2013 in Naples, Florida

The 16-year-old, who won her first pro tournament in Taiwan on Sunday is already ranked number four in the world, generating a wave of hype that has seen Time magazine name her as one of the world's most influential teens.

Ko, whose grounded attitude has impressed pundits, said having IMG manage her affairs would allow her to concentrate on her game.

"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," she said in a statement.

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

The Korean-born prodigy will be keen to avoid the pitfalls experienced by her American stablemate at IMG Michelle Wie, who has failed to live up to expectations since turning pro aged 15 in 2005.

The US LPGA usually restricts membership to golfers aged 18 and over but granted Ko a special waiver because of her achievements as an amateur, which included becoming the youngest player to ever win a pro tournament at 14.

She won four professional tournaments as an amateur but had to forgo millions of dollars in prize money and sponsorships, a situation IMG will no doubt be quick to rectify when it takes over her management.

"We will be employing all of our experience and our global resources to her benefit," IMG's global head of golf Guy Kinnings said.

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