TIME Magazine named 17-year-old LPGA Tour pro Lydia Ko of New Zealand to its annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People” in the world.
The list, released on Thursday, Ko’s 17th birthday, featured Ko as one of five athletes — and the only professional golfer — to be honored. Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, pro tennis player Serena Williams and Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo are the other athletes sharing the distinction in 2014.
TIME’s tribute, penned by World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, praised Ko, who already has five professional wins on her resume, as the leader of golf’s youth movement.
“Lydia Ko is exceptionally talented, mature beyond her years and well liked by golf fans and competitors alike. She is responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe.”
“Her early, record-breaking success brings with it incredible pressure — and she’s doing a fantastic job handling the many responsibilities that accompany stardom. Her future is very bright.”