Hash tag, Ko Blimey! What does a professional golf caddy have in common with White House press secretary Sean Spicer?

They have to be tightrope-walking mind readers and, in the blink of an eye, metamorphose into doormats whenever their pugnacious masters roll out of the wrong side of the bed.

But my preoccupation isn't with how an agitated, antagonistic Spicer - sporting first-class luggage under his eyes that must require a carousel to reclaim - rolls into bed every night after trying to justify the feelings of Donald Trump, such as why the US president would be "honoured" to break bread with North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un.

If that's all it takes for two despots to broker a deal to avert world war III - assuming it hasn't already begun - then it hardly matters what word Trump uses to describe the impending talks.


My fixation is with the curious case of Lydia Ko and her perceived tyrannical behaviour in going through 10 caddies since turning professional.

Peter Godfrey is the man on the bag right now of the world No 1 professional female, born in South Korea but who has pledged allegiance to New Zealand since arriving here to hone her skills as a youngster.

In Ko's scrap heap of caddies are Michael Henderson, Scott Lubin, Mark Wallington, Steve Kay, Domingo Jojola, Mike Cowan, Greg Johnson, Jason Hamilton and the latest whipping boy, Gary Matthews.

You see, it's the age-old question of how much of the genius should be attributed to the golfer and how much to the caddie?

It's up there with the unresolved debate of jockey/trainer or horse in thoroughbred racing, Formula One driver or the metal beast, equestrian or mount, Elvis Presley or The Colonel, Trump or Spicer, to name a few.

Perhaps the first sticky lump of sod we need to knock off the iron is the old adage that caddies must show up, keep up and shut up in its literal sense.

Caddies have evolved from a species that lug a bag of clubs, wipe them clean, hold the pin when golfers putt and whip out the bottle of water between shots.

I was lucky enough to walk alongside PGA Tour types - such as Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, Anthony Kim, Adam Scott and Camilo Villegas - during the $2.6-million made-for-TV Kiwi Challenge staged twice at the Cape Kidnappers Resort and Golf Course in Hawke's Bay from 2008 to get some grasp of what transpires between them and caddies.

The caddies' work was cut out well before showtime. Inaugural winner Mahan's caddie, John Wood, was out in bitterly cold and wet weather from the day they had arrived, walking the course, meticulously jotting down yardages in his worn out notebook.

Wood later explained he had to identify and map the best possible landing areas for Mahan's shots from tee to green. He also had to identify problematic patches for the player to sidestep, check the gradient and breaks of the prime real estate with the eye of a cartographer and chart the weather forecast with the precision of a meteorologist.

All that, of course, is well before the fun and games began.

The biggest challenge, I guess, must be when the players enter the realm of the sixth sense.

When the game between the ears become a little erratic for players then adroit caddies reach into their bag of tricks to put them at ease.

Whether the professionals overcome their yips or mind swamp to hand in a decent card is entirely their domain. If not, is it reasonable to expect the contemporary caddie also to be a shrink?

Only last month, PGA pro Jason "Duffed It Big Time" Dufner drew the ire of global followers when he choked on a tap-in distance putt on the fifth hole of the RBC Heritage at South Carolina.

Dufner had petulantly dumped his putter on the green, after picking up the ball, rather than handing it to his caddie, Kevin Baile.

The 2013 PGA champion's 54-hole lead spiralled from there but was Dufner implying his caddie was to blame or simply his doormat.

Ko's prowess, albeit with some luck, has kept her No 1 for 80 weeks, despite withdrawing midway from the Texas Shootout reportedly due to an eye infection this week.

If a caddie's work detail is so complex should the 20-year-old's behaviour be likened to Trump's The Apprentice, where he fires prospective staff until one is left standing.

It's Ko's party and she should have the licence to cry if she wants to.

I suspect the tumultuous phase is related to broader issues such as her origins, culture and parentage.

Her sense of guilt in having to marginalise the input of her parents, Hyeon Bong-sook, Ko Gil-hong, to toe the line of "Team Ko" is glaringly obvious.

When Ko dumped coach David Leadbetter, caddie Hamilton and switched equipment from Callaway to PXG Golf last year she reinforced that filial affinity amid Leadbetter's caution of "it's not easy to coach three people".

Why not? It worked perfectly well before that.

At home, the Ko family reportedly eat Korean and even watch Korean TV but have never had to wonder whether they are Koreans or Kiwis until others questioned their allegiance.

The western values of marginalising family to assert one's independence, akin to putting elderly into rest homes, isn't the universal way and is in conflict with other cultures.

Freedom to develop, within reason, is always a given but who would you listen to - your parents who got you there on sound etiquette or people who are teed up solely to drive from the fiscal mound?

When Ko finds that happy medium again and stops feeling like she has something to prove to the public, she'll stun the world again.