Ko confirms leaving longtime coach
One of the LPGA's newest pros, 16-year-old Lydia Ko, is changing coaches, the Associated Press and other sources reported Sunday.
Ko, of New Zealand, no longer will work with Guy Wilson – her coach since age 5. Wilson issued a statement including that he was "incredibly disappointed" and that it had "been an honor to help develop Lydia into the No. 4 golfer in the world."
Ko has confirmed that she will be coached by Sean Hogan at David Leadbetter's Academy in the United States.
Ko went on to say she was "sad" about parting ways with Wilson.
"I'm going to be away from home and I'm not a player that likes to (not) have my coach out at tournaments, so it doesn't really work, him being here and him coming on the weeks that I'm not playing a tournament," Ko told ONE Sport at the Gulf Habour Country Club. "That means I'd only see him like 10 times a year and to me that kind of situation didn't work out so that's why I thought it might be better to have a coach based somewhere in the States.
"It's obviously sad to stop with Guy, because he's been a great coach and a great friend as well," she continued.
"But it's just important to know that we still are good friends, which is quite good because sometimes it might not end well in both ways. I'm just lucky that we can still be friends."
There was plenty of reaction on social media, particularly Twitter, most of which was critical of Ko's surprising decision. As of Monday afternoon, the teenager had deleted her Twitter account after being fairly active throughout her amateur career.
Having turned pro in October, it's been a busy December for Ko:
- The teen won the Swinging Skirts Ladies Masters earlier this month in Taiwan in her second start as a professional.
- She also announced she was signing with IMG for management.
- Soon after, she signed a three-year endorsement deal with Australian bank ANZ.
Last year at age 15, Ko won the Canadian Women's Open to become the youngest victor in LPGA history. She defended that title again this year as an amateur.
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Wilson's complete statement:
It's been an honour to help develop Lydia into the number four golfer in the world. When I first met her the golf clubs were taller than she was and she didn't know the first thing about a driver or a putter but now she has one of the most envied swings of the women's golf world.
We've spent a lot of time together over the past decade and during that time I've become very close to Lydia and her family. While I'm incredibly disappointed that our 11 year partnership is over, I respect Lydia and her team's decision.
Lydia's consistent and outstanding performance is the ultimate payback for any coach and it has been truly wonderful working with someone with her talent, dedication and focus.
I wish Lydia all the best and will watch proudly as she embarks on what I'm sure will be a hugely successful golfing career.
The Institute of Golf team and I will continue to work with other young golfers keen to follow in Lydia's footsteps and professionals like NZ number one Michael Hendry in the future.