Golf: Ko turns down funding

NZ Golf and Lydia Ko have announced their current funding from High Performance Sport NZ will be ceased immediately. Photo / Getty Images.
NZ Golf and Lydia Ko have announced their current funding from High Performance Sport NZ will be ceased immediately. Photo / Getty Images.

NZ Golf and Lydia Ko have announced their current funding from High Performance Sport NZ will be ceased immediately.

HPSNZ's investment to support Lydia's campaign towards the Rio Olympics, which was established in 2012 and had initially been due to run through until the end of 2014, was being reviewed by HPSNZ after Lydia's early successes on the professional circuit.

However New Zealand Golf and Ko have decided she would like to move ahead without HPSNZ's financial support and the HPSNZ investment arrangement is coming to an end.

The original investment application submitted by New Zealand Golf and agreed by HPSNZ in November 2012 was based on Ko being earmarked by HPSNZ as an athlete with the potential to win a gold medal for New Zealand.

HPSNZ's aim has been to support the world No 3 as she builds toward her goal of competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, however New Zealand Golf and Ko feel that the time is right to conclude the financial aspect of this arrangement as Lydia is now in a position to be able to fund most of her campaign costs herself.

Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf's chief executive, believed that while HPSNZ's investment would still be well-placed given the high costs involved in competing at the top events internationally, the time was right for New Zealand Golf and Ko to move ahead without HPSNZ financial support.

"Lydia is a fantastic ambassador for New Zealand on the world stage. She loves New Zealand and loves to represent us around the world. As a nation we have loved watching her excel,'' Murphy said.

"Our focus at New Zealand Golf is, and always has been, developing and supporting golfers who have the ability to compete and succeed on the world stage.

"All previous investment from New Zealand Golf and HPSNZ has been based on demonstrated need and has been completely fit for purpose. It has been disappointing to see the recent discussion in the media on the merits of this funding, particularly as it has already provided significant returns. Lydia has proven what an incredible competitor she is with her successes so early in her career as a professional golfer.

"We trust that by ceasing all current HPSNZ funding, the discussions in the media will now rightfully return to Lydia's outstanding ability on the golf course and the wonderful promotion she is providing for the game of golf and New Zealand as a country.''

HPSNZ hopes to continue supporting Lydia with information and knowledge to help with her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as this will be an environment she hasn't competed in before.

New Zealand Golf and Lydia Ko have no further comment to make on the funding programme from HPSNZ.

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