Lydia Ko has accomplished some extraordinary feats. In fact, it is sometimes easy to forget that the New Zealander is still only 25. She has packed so much into her first quarter of a century on earth, she will probably get hit with a charge for excess baggage. Her 2022 campaign alone has been stuffed to the gunwales.

Ko’s victory in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship recently put the tin lid on a thrilling campaign. As well as returning to her world No.1 perch, Ko reeled off a trio of LPGA Tour wins to take her career tally to 19, was crowned the circuit’s Player of the Year, earned almost $4.5 million and lifted the Vare Trophy with a scoring average of 68.98, the second lowest in tour history behind Annika Sorenstam’s average of 68.70 in 2002.

Ko was only five when Sorenstam was in her all-conquering pomp.

“I’m still five in my mom’s eyes,” chuckled double Major winner Ko, whose mother has been beside her all the way during a meteoric rise to superstardom that has not been without its bumps along the way.

A decade ago, Ko became the youngest LPGA Tour winner at just 15 and was the youngest to ascend to world No.1 in 2015. By 2020, though, she had slithered out of the top 50. Here in 2022, Ko’s renaissance has been completed.

“Some people look at me and say, ‘oh, you must be, like, 30 by now’,” she smiled.

This game, as many of you will mutter after knifing one out of the bunker and into a bush, can put years on you. In this very individual pursuit, the role of Ko’s family, especially her mum, has been vital to her success.

“I should say thank you more often,” she said of this debt of gratitude. “She’s been through this with me since day one.

“I remember coming over to the US for the first time when I was a junior to play in San Diego. I might sound like I was born in the 1960s here but at that time navigation wasn’t as good as we have now. She printed five pieces of paper of how to get from LA airport to San Diego. She can be my toughest critic but I know she wants me to just keep growing and I think she keeps me really humble.”

The close-knit Ko family will be expanded when Lydia ties the knot with her fiance, Chung Jun. For a touring global golfer bouncing here, there and everywhere, trying to balance work and life can be as tricky as performing a high-wire act in a stiff breeze. Finding personal contentment, however, has aided her professional cause.

“He is obviously a very special person in my life,” she said of her other half. “He motivates and inspires me to become a better person and a better player. My golf is not how he perceives me, though.

“For a while when things weren’t going great in my career, my identity felt so connected to golf. If I had a bad day on the golf course, I was a bad person, if I had a great day on the golf course, I felt like a better person.

“But he gives me more perspective in life and in golf. I’ve actually wanted to work harder during the times that I am working and then also enjoy time off. I think I’ve probably had a few more breaks than I did two or three years ago.”

The last time Ko won the LPGA’s Tour Championship in 2014, she was a bespectacled teen.

“I don’t miss wearing the glasses and having to clean my lenses,” she reflected. “I’ve gone through my share of ups and downs but this is a journey of continuous learning. I’m excited where I am in life and on the golf course.”

The status Ko, it seems, suits Lydia down a tee.