Ko's admission: 'I'm never going to be the same'

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Friday, 10 May 2019, 11:46AM
Lydia Ko finished 2018 ranked No 14 in the world. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko finished 2018 ranked No 14 in the world. Photo / Getty Images

Lydia Ko burst onto the international golfing scene in 2012, claiming the New South Wales Open title at 14-years-old to become the youngest player to ever win a professional tour event.

Turning professional in late 2013, it wasn't long before Ko was world No.1 and winning tournaments. It was a stunning start to her career.

Now, after a few years at the top, Ko has struggled to find the consistency and stroke that took her to the top early in her career.

"A lot of things came to me that I didn't really expect. The things that I'd dreamt of and more happened," Ko told Radio Sport's Matt Brown.

"But because of those things and now things aren't going so great, I get compared to that. One player told me and I think it kind of came to me, that I'm never going to be the same. I might play as well as I did then or better or not as good, but I'm never going to be the same. Through every experience you change and you learn."

After finishing the 2018 season ranked 14th in the world, her lowest since turning professional, Ko made a quality start to 2019 and found herself in contention in a number of tournaments. However her recent form has seen her struggle, particularly on the greens.

While Ko hasn't been able to find her form, the level of opponent has also increased since she turned professional and tournament wins are much harder to come by. She said where three good rounds and an average one used to put you in contention, now if you didn't have four really good rounds at a tournament you wouldn't have a chance to win it.

"A combination of things were working good at the start. I played very consistent and I think the last few weeks I've been struggling to get the ball in the hole and on the green," she said. 

"If I had a few less putts everyday I'd definitely be further up the leaderboard, but you sometimes have these lulls.

"I'm trying to take the positives out of something that wasn't necessarily that great."

At last week's LPGA Mediheal Championship in California, Ko finished six over par in a tie for 61st. It came on the heals of a tie for 42nd at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open at the end of April, and a tie for 44th at the Ana Inspiration tournament in early April.

Having recently parted ways with swing coach Ted Oh, Ko said she recently sought the opinions of a few other coaches but was in no hurry to find another caddy.

It's quite a hard time of the year to be doing that…I was able to see some coaches just for their opinions on things so I feel like I've got plenty of things to work on.

"I just have to be positive and stay patient."