Guy Heveldt: Lydia must take control and leave her parents out of the picture

Caddie Gary Matthews has joined Ko's former coach David Leadbetter in a fairly brutal assessment of her constant changes and decision-making. Photo / Photosport
Caddie Gary Matthews has joined Ko's former coach David Leadbetter in a fairly brutal assessment of her constant changes and decision-making. Photo / Photosport

Lydia Ko is four days away from being out of her teens.

Early next week, she will be 20 and into official adulthood. Yet, she seemingly has no control over decisions around her golf career.

That needs to change.

Recently sacked caddie Gary Matthews, her ninth since turning pro, has joined Ko's former coach David Leadbetter in a fairly brutal assessment of her constant changes and decision-making.

South African Matthews claims there is "no communication" from those around the world women's No1 golfer and she needs to "wake up" to how caddie-player relationships work.

Leadbetter made similar comments when he was shown the door late last year.

The well-respected coach, who' has tutored with names such as Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Ernie Els and Michelle Wie, fired his parting shot by saying he's never worked with a player who has had as much information thrown at them as Ko receives from her team.

That team is, essentially, her parents and her sister.

From speaking to people close to the Kiwi superstar, it seems they call the shots and dictate every move she makes - from her schedule, to the equipment she uses and her choice of coach and caddie.

Simply put, they have too much say.

Let's get this out of the way first. Ko is an incredible sportswoman. Not only in the way she plays, which, as everyone already knows, is phenomenal. But, also in the way she handles herself off the course - whether it be with her fans or the media. She has proven she is more than capable of carrying the extras that come with being the world's best women's golfer. So, why is she not allowed to make the calls that are probably the most important to her?

Under Leadbetter, she won 12 LPGA Tour tournaments, including two majors. That's a record any golfer would take. While Matthews never had any victories carrying her bag, in nine events with the South African she had five top 10 finishes. Again, an impressive record. Both were unceremoniously dumped.

Ko burst on to the golfing scene as a baby-faced 15-year-old when she won the Canadian Open and, rightfully, her parents were there with her every step of the way.

But, she's now been a regular fixture on the LPGA Tour and knows what is best for her own game.

It's never easy for anyone to stand up to their parents and over-rule them, but Ko needs to do exactly that.

- NZ Herald

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