Naples, Florida | Two-time champion Jin Young Koo returned to the CME Group Tour Championship to defend her title. But, just like last year, Ko will be plagued by a wrist injury that plagued the latter half of her season.
After missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in her career in August, Ko took a seven-week hiatus to rehabilitate a nagging repetitive motion injury to her left wrist. The world number one finally returned to the LPGA Tour for the BMW Women’s Championship, but withdrew quickly after being +15 through 54 holes. Her next event was the Pelican Women’s Championship, where she missed the cut after scoring a par 3 through the first two rounds.
Given her recent performance, the question entering the CME Group Tour Championships is obvious: How’s Ko?
“It’s okay, but not too good,” was Ko’s simple answer to the wrist question during a press conference on Tuesday. She went on to say her wrist hurt on every shot and it feels worse this year than it did during her last visit to Tiburon Golf Resort. But she said there was nothing she could do but stick it up and take medicine.
The next question is: Why is Ko still playing?
“I just want to know what problems are in my game right now,” she explained. “I was talking about whether or not I should go back to the States to play in the last two tournaments until I got on board. Even though I’m having a hard time right now, the two events are going to make me stronger. I have to feel some of that pain and my difficult situation.
“It’s the first time I’m in such a difficult situation in my life, but I think I need times like this because I need to think for myself.”
With only one event left on the schedule, Ko decides to work through her pain and “toughness”. She’ll limit her training direction this week, just as she did last year, and won’t hit balls in range. Since she won’t be able to spend a lot of time working on her game, Ko’s focus for the time being is her way of thinking.
“I don’t want to think too much,” Ko said. “Right now on my mind I have a lot of things from golf or from life, so I want to be clear in my mind. Only one tournament left, so I’m going to fight it hard.”
It will be hard to forget her wrist when she ache with every swing. Co said it related to Nelly Korda’s comments about dealing with the uncertainty that comes with injuries.
“Like Nelly, I’m concerned about my wrist, how long this injury will take to recover,” Coe said. “It’s my fault because this is my body. I didn’t (take care of) my body, and that’s why it caused my wrist problem.”
In the off-season, Ko does not plan to undergo extensive treatment for her wrist. The only thing new you will try is blood circulation, also known as platelet rich plasma therapy.
Although she may not be in the best shape physically, Ko has won against all odds before. She won the CME Group Tour Championship last year while dealing with the same injury. She also won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March.
“I have great memories here,” Coe said of Tiburon. “In the last two years I’ve had two wins, so I’m happy to be here. I love playing this golf course, but it’s not easy, so hopefully this week will be the same as the last two years.”
The CME Group Tour Championship will be televised for all four rounds. Fans can watch Rounds One and Two live on The Golf Channel Thursday and Friday from 3-5 PM ET. Round 3 will be televised from 4-7 p.m. ET on Saturday. The final round will be held live on NBC from 1-4 p.m. ET.
Rounds 1-3 can be streamed live from 2-5pm ET and Sunday’s competition will be streamed live from 1-4pm ET on golfchannel.com, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.