Teen sensation Lydia Ko splits with coach of 11 years
New Zealander is parting ways with long-time mentor Guy Wilson
Agence France-Presse in Wellington
Teen sensation Lydia Ko’s long-time coach Guy Wilson said on Monday that the New Zealander had split with him after 11 years, leaving him “incredibly disappointed”.
Wilson, who has coached the world number four since she was just five years old, confirmed he had been sacked by Ko, who signed with management giant IMG this month after turning pro in October.
“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,” Wilson said.
He said he wished the 16-year-old the best in “what I’m sure will be a hugely successful golfing career”.
“While I’m incredibly disappointed that our 11-year partnership is over, I respect Lydia and her team’s decision,” Wilson said.
“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.”
The South Korean-born Ko won her first event as a professional in Taiwan earlier in December after a stellar amateur career, which included becoming the youngest player to win a pro tournament, at just 14.
She will reportedly work with British coach David Leadbetter, who also has Ko’s IMG stablemate Michelle Wie on his books.
Ko’s success has generated a wave of hype that has seen Time magazine name her as one of the world’s most influential teens, although pundits have also praised her grounded attitude, attributing it partly to the team around her.