WORLD Number One Lydia Ko has spoken publicly for the first time since splitting with long-time coach David Leadbetter.
The 19-year-old ended her three-year relationship with the high profile teacher earlier this month, just weeks after terminating the services of long-time caddie Jason Hamilton.
The move away from Leadbetter raised eyebrows, particularly after the coach went public about the split and openly suggested Ko’s parents were a source of tension.
But Ko, regarded by most as one of the nicest players in the game, has hit back via an email interview on the LPGA’s official website.
Ko told LPGA contributor Amy Rogers she was in the process of taking control of more of her own decisions and that recent changes hadn’t come easily.
“I think I have, yes, sometimes been too reliant on my parents because I am so used to being with them,” Ko writes.
PLAYER PROFILE LYDIA KO:
“But I think I need to learn more about taking ownership and making my own decisions.
“Of course I discussed my decision (to leave Leadbetter) with my parents.
“They gave their opinions, too. But at the end of the day I made the final decision to change.”
Ko, who won her first LPGA Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur, says her relationship with parents Tina Hyon and Gil Hong isn’t always plain sailing.
“My parents are a big part of my golfing career and I know I wouldn’t be here without them,” she writes.
“I am very close with my parents. But it would be a lie to say that we have never had an argument or I’ve never been upset because of them.
“But at the end of the day, even though I may not know at the time, they are wishing the very best for me and it’s because they care and love me.”
Ko didn’t address rumours she is also changing equipment from Callaway to PXG but admitted in hindsight there had been a lot of recent upheaval.
“Even though I have made quite a few changes the past few months, I guess I didn’t realise until people started pointing it out to me,” she says.
“But I don’t regret making them. Stopping work with David and Sean was a very hard decision to make, as I really enjoyed working with them and also felt like I learned a lot about my game too.
“My decision to stop working with the team was not at all result related.”
Ko says she simply felt stale in the second half of 2016 and is looking for a refreshed start in 2017.
“I think playing my first tournament of the 2017 season I will get a whole new feeling, just like playing in the Bahamas in my first event as a rookie,” she said.
“My biggest goal when playing is to enjoy and have fun. “Hopefully these changes will give me more confidence.”
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