Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko outlines retirement plans

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 09:55 10/07/2014
Lydia Ko
Getty
BIG PLANS: Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko believes she will retire from the sport by the time she turns 35.

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Lydia Ko has predicted retiring at 35.

The record-breaking 17-year-old has only just begun her career as a professional golfer, but already, the world number two is being asked whether she will emulate England's Dame Laura Davies and play into her 50's.

At an overnight press conference in England, Ko, who is preparing for the start of the women's Open Championship tonight (NZT), laughed off the question, saying stepping away from the game in her 30's seems more realistic.

"When I'm 50? [Laughter]. There's my answer," Ko, the world number two, said.

"No, I don't think I would want to play until I'm 50. Maybe when I'm 30 I'll want to play until I'm 35 and I think that's probably what's going to happen.

"I'm just going to enjoy the moment and this year has gone by really fast.  So I think it's going to be like that for a while. And hopefully I'm not playing until I'm 50."

Despite being only 17, Ko said she does not feel young out on tour due to others, such as Lexi Thompson, setting the age trend before her - and, the emergence of 11-year-old American Lucy Li who qualified for the US Open last month.

"No, I don't feel like I'm so young because I'm not the first one that came out here as a 17‑year‑old," Ko said.

"I mean, Lexi turned pro when she was 15 and I think she was on the tour when she was 17, 18, also.  It's really good for me that I'm not the first one and that there are other players that have been like that, like Michelle [Wie] and Paula [Creamer] and Lexi. 

"In that aspect, I'm very lucky to kind of be there and I'm very fortunate to be playing on the tour as a 17‑year‑old.  I don't feel too young, after meeting Lucy at the US Open, she is six years younger than me and made me feel old.  

"It's good to know that I'm not the youngest one out here."

In her first season as a professional, Ko has had seven top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour and won the LPGA Classic. The 17-year-old's accumulative winnings this year, so far, stand at $828, 042 (NZD$ 947,124).

However, Ko, who now lives in Orlando, Florida, says she hasn't been spending wildly - but one of the perks of her career so far has been gifting her father a Rolex watch.

"Best thing I've bought? I don't know. I don't think it's the best thing I've bought, but after my first win in San Francisco, you get a Rolex for winning, for being a first‑time winner on the tour.  I decided to get my dad that watch," she said.

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"So it's kind of cool to be able to present it to my dad, a nice Rolex watch which I probably wouldn't buy. It's such a precious and very expensive watch. Just being able to look at it, it's a piece of artwork and to be able to give that to my dad, I'm very grateful for the opportunity."

- Stuff

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