In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take an in-depth look at the history of women’s golf and identify the moments that had the most consequence. To accomplish this, we polled several important stakeholders in the women’s game, from top-ranked teachers to the CEO of the USGA, major winners to award-winning journalists, asking them to identify the moments that they felt mattered most. From that expansive list, a panel of our editorial team voted to rank this list of the top 20 most-consequential moments in the history of women’s golf. Each weekday throughout the month of March, we will release a new moment, counting down to the most consequential in the women’s game. Read on to remember some of the great people and events that helped shape the game, and maybe learn something new, as we take an in-depth look into what has made the women’s game what it is today. —Keely Levins

No. 20: Lydia Ko reaches World No. 1 at age 17 (2015)

Before Lydia Ko, it was Tiger Woods who held the record for youngest person to become No. 1 in either the men’s or women’s golf rankings. He was 21 years old when he first took over the top spot of the OWGR in June 1997. Ko beat him by almost half a decade: She was just 17 years old when she reached that milestone in February 2015.

A five-time LPGA Tour winner, Ko overtook Inbee Park, interestingly with a runner-up finish at the Coates Golf Championship. “I personally think this is the start,” Ko said at the time. “Golf is a sport that you can play for many years, and that’s my plan. This is only the start of my second year on tour. I’ve been enjoying that and I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up next.”


Tom Pennington

And that’s what made her reaching World No. 1 so incredible: Everyone watching knew it was just the beginning. A few weeks later she would validate the ranking with another LPGA title. Ko, with her quick smile and a control over the game that made each round look easier than it possibly could’ve been, was—and still is—easy to root for. She brought fans to the game, inspired players both young and old, and continues to do so today.

Said award-winning journalist Jaime Diaz: “Lydia becoming No. 1 at age 17 established her as a generational talent, one who in the ensuing years put herself on the cusp of the LPGA Hall of Fame, one of the toughest halls of fame to get into in all of sports, if not the toughest. She has been the best female player of the last 10 years, an era marked by parity, by a good margin.”

In 2015, she held the No. 1 ranking for 19 weeks. She has held the No. 1 position two other times since, totaling for an additional 106 weeks as World No. 1. —K.L.

More From Golf Digest LPGA Tour With Lydia Ko on cusp of making LPGA Hall of Fame, here are 9 players hoping to follow her elite What you can learn from the best short games on the LPGA Tour LPGA season preview Lydia, Lexi, Rose, Brooke and the Solheim Cup: 5 bold predictions for the LPGA season

This article was originally published on