Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko's latest support staff reshuffle surprised many - including the coach she axed.

Ko on Tuesday announced that she would replace Gary Gilchrist as her coach and Peter Godfrey as caddie ahead of the Australian Open, after a disappointing 2017 that saw the former world No 1 slip down to 10th in the rankings.

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Former pro golfer Ted Oh would replace Gilchrist, while Jonny Scott would be Ko's 11th bagman since she turned pro in 2013.


Gilchrist, who joined Ko early last year, revealed to the Herald he had no idea the two-time major winner was about to sack him.

"She called me after the New Year and shared that she was moving to Phoenix for the winter and told me she will be practising there," Gilchrist said in a text to Radio Sport's Matt Brown.

"No idea what prompted the move. I have been waiting for her or her agent to come out with a press release to clarify everything. I am also in the dark."

Despite the snub, Gilchrist believes Ko could have a "fantastic" year.

"New caddie new coach. I believe she will have a fantastic year. She prepares 100% every year. Wish her and her family all the best. Loved the time we all spent together. Thanks for all your support."

Ko was criticised by Gary Matthews after replacing him with Godfrey in April 2017 - just nine events into their partnership.

The South African caddie told Golf Digest communication in the Ko camp was non-existent and that the 20-year-old "needs to wake up".

"In all honesty, there is no communication in the whole camp. You never know anything or are told anything," Matthews told Golf Digest.

"I'm like well, never in 19 years have I been fired . . . I was like, 'This is a bit strange; I didn't think I did that bad of a job. I wish her the best, but she's gone through so many caddies, she needs to wake up on caddie-player relationships. Otherwise, she'll just keep doing it."

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Oh, 40, made six starts on the PGA Tour. He grew up in California competing against the likes of Tiger Woods, and in 1993 qualified for the US Open at the age of 16.

Oh spent a week with Ko in Phoenix last month. He told Golfweek their primary focus was on scoring clubs. They spent the first four hours of each day on shorter irons and then the afternoon on short game.

Golfweek quoted Ko's management team as saying the change of coach and caddie was "just a normal transition and exploration that everyone does in their off-season. They've only been working together for one to two months. She is hoping to make a great result with them."

Ko earlier told the Adelaide Advertiser the changes came after she lost confidence last year as she fell down the world rankings.

She hasn't won a tournament since July 2016 and will be looking to see her fortunes change as she heads into the new season.

"Confidence is a huge thing," she said. "During the middle of last year I felt I lost a bit of confidence.

"Talent-wise it does not change week-in, week-out, it is really confidence and how positive you are.

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"I took time off to regroup and rest physically and mentally. The past month I have been training back in the states and it is good to come back and play this tournament, my first for the season."

Ko recently described her 2017 season as an 'emotional roller coaster ride'.

"2017 has been a year that has taken me on an up and down emotional roller coaster ride... however when I reflect back on my year now, I think every moment has been an experience to grow from, and a learning curve for me both on and off the golf course,"

"Some may class my season 'disappointing', but I would say, that my '17 season was still full of positives.

"Can't say enough thank you's to god, my family, friends, sponsors and fans for being by my side each step of the way. Going to keep working hard to come back more positive, patient, strong and smiley!!! Thanks 2017, now, Hello 2018."

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