Lydia Ko Earnings and Net Worth

Lydia Ko’s net worth is $8.2 million. The teen golf sensation has earned $13.1 million in tournament winnings, awards, estimated endorsements and subsidies over the course of her fledgeling career. Subtracting from this sum are about $4 million in New Zealand income tax and $1.4 million in expenses.

In November of 2015, Ko took the $1 million dollar Race to the CME Globe title. The prize is given to the golfer who scores the most points across all 30+ LPGA official tournaments for the year. Ko won the title in 2015 for the second year in a row, making her the only golfer ever to win it since its inception in 2014.

Aside from $2 million in Race to the CME Globe money, Ko also earned $2.8 million in LPGA tournament money in 2015 and $2.1 million in 2014. The young star has also picked up an estimated $3.5 million in endorsements and $508,000 in subsidies from the New Zealand government. She has earned over $1.4 million in tournament pay so far in 2016. That includes $300,000 for taking first place in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on 6/24/16.

Lydia Ko Earnings (Tournaments and Awards)

Lydia Ko EarningsLydia Ko’s has earned a total of $9,145,211 in her two-year LGPA career. That includes $7,145,211 in tournament money and $2 million for her two consecutive Race to the CME Globe title wins.

Ending the 2015 season, Lydia Ko was announced as winner of the $1 million dollar Race to the CME Globe title. That’s her second year in a row winning that title. The title is awarded to the player with the most points across all 32 official LGPA tournaments. Ko won despite tying for 7th place in the CME Group Tour Championship. Ko finished 6 shots ahead of winner Cristie Kerr. However, the 18 year-old’s season-long record is impressive.

Also see: Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko Take Home Big LPGA Money

Lydia Ko took first place in five of 32 LGPA tournaments in 2015.

Tournament Date Lydia Ko Place Lydia Ko Prize Money
Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship 10/22/2015 1 $300,000
The Evian Championship 9/10/2015 1 $487,500
Canadian Pacific Women’s Open 8/20/2015 1 $337,500
Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC 4/23/2015 1 $300,000
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open 2/19/2015 1 $180,000
Total     $1,605,000

Apart from Ko’s five first place wins above, the golfer finished in the top ten in 17 tournaments in 2015. She earned a total of $3.8 million for the year, including her $1 million dollar Race to the CME Globe prize money.

Lydia Ko’s Rookie year was 2014. In that year, she earned $2.09 million, including $1 million for the 2014 Race to the CME Globe title. Ko’s career earnings would be much higher if not for her amateur status. Ko won the 2012 Canadian Women’s Open at age 15, but didn’t declare pro status until more than a year later.

Also see: How Much Money Does an NBA Player Make?

Lydia Ko received her $1 million earnings for her Race to the CME Globe title win in a big box of cash. This tweet  below from pro caddy and ESPN pundit Michael Collins shows the moment Ko got the cash.

Lydia Ko Earnings Globe

Lydia Ko Endorsement Deals

Aside from her earnings on the LPGA, Lydia Ko has signed at least one highly lucrative endorsement deal and at least a few other smaller ones. We estimate Ko’s total endorsement deal earnings at $3.5 million over the course of her career.

In January of 2014, Callaway Golf announced in a press release that Ko had signed on for a reportedly “highly lucrative” endorsement deal with the company. Ko also has deals with Fiore, 1Above and Carlsbad. Putting Ko’s Callaway deal at $1 million per year and her other deals at $750,000 a year total gives us our estimate of $3.5 million total in Lydia Ko endorsement earnings.

Those Embarrassing Subsidies

Lydia Ko Earnings WorthKo had applied for sports subsidies from the New Zealand government in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to pursue her pro golf career in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics. The subsidies were to pay her travel and training costs during year long, worldwide golf tournament tours. Ko reportedly received $115,000 in subsidies in 2012, $185,000 in 2013 and $208,000 in 2014. That brings her total New Zealand government subsidy count to $508,000. The extra earnings had some in the golf world crying foul, since Ko got $208,000 of the money in 2014, at a time when she earned $2.1 million for tournament play and another $1 million for the Race to the Globe title.

Ko was reportedly embarrassed by the subsidies and explained that she applied for her 2014 subsidies in 2013, before she decided to go pro. It’s unclear at this time whether she kept the government funds or sent them back.

Lydia Ko Earnings in 2016

As of 7/21/16, Ko has played in 14 events and has the #1 position in the Rolex Race to the CME Globe competition. The golf phenom placed first in the ANA Inspiration and the Kia Classic. She placed second in two other events and third in another. She has earned a total of $2,255,376 so far in 2016. Her biggest payout so far for the year is $390,000 for the ANA Classic. Her smallest is $15,893 for 23rd place in the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY. 

Other Lydia Ko Net Worth Considerations

We could say Lydia Ko’s net worth is $13.1 million because she’s earned that much, but that would ignore taxes, living and travel expense, and probable investment income. The table below shows Ko’s straight up earnings since 2012 without any of those things.

Also see: FanDuel, DraftKings, What’s the Catch?

Total Lydia Ko Earnings

Race to the CME Globe
New Zealand Government Subsidies
Total Lydia Ko Earnings
2012 (Amateur) N/A $115,000 $115,000
2013 (Amateur) N/A $185,000 $185,000
2014 $2,089,033 $1,000,000 $208,000 $1,500,000 $4,797,033
2015 $2,800,802 $1,000,000 $0 $2,000,000 $5,800,802
2016 $2,457,913 N/A $0 N/A $2,457,913
Totals $7,347,748 $2,000,000 $508,000 $3,500,000 $13,355,748

How much money does Lydia Ko MakeAs a New Zealand citizen, Lydia Ko pays the top tax rate of 33% for all those earning more than $70,000 per year. Per the earnings above, that would give Ko a lifetime tax bill of 33% of $10.9 million, or $4,340,560. We figured her expenses at roughly 10% of income. Ko faces not only living expenses but also training, travel and other living costs associated with getting to and from 30+ LPGA tournaments per year. Ko has been on the pro golf circuit since 2012, though she was an amateur for two of those years. We figure her lifetime expense bill at $1.48 million.

Ko most likely invests the money she doesn’t need for immediate expenses. Figuring she earned about 10% on her net worth since 2014, we estimate she’s socked away another $273,000 in investment income.  The table below shows our estimates for Lydia Ko taxes, expenses and investment income. While these figures are only educated guesses, they do help to round out our Lydia Ko net worth total.

Lydia Ko’s Estimated Taxes, Expenses, Investments and Net Worth

Total Lydia Ko Earnings
Investment Income
Lydia Ko Net Worth
2012 $115,000 $37,950 $75,000 $0 $0
2013 $185,000 $61,050 $120,000 $0 $0
2014 $4,797,033 $1,583,021 $479,703 $0 $2,734,309
2015 $5,800,802 $1,914,265 $580,080 $273,431 $6,314,197
2016 $2,457,913 $811,111 $245,791 $1,401,010 $8,346,627
Totals $13,355,748 $4,407,397 $1,500,575 $1,674,441

About Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko is the youngest person ever to win a pro golf tournament. She’s the youngest LPGA tournament winner, youngest LPGA millionaire and the youngest player of the year or MVP in all of golf, Major League Baseball, the NFL or the NHL. Born in 1997 in South Korea, Ko moved to New Zealand and is reportedly looking for a U.S. residence. She is considering either Texas or Florida as a state of residence, since Phil Mickelson is said to have advised her not to settle in California like he did, where the state tax rate in the highest bracket is 13.3%.