Michael Campbell: Tell Lydia Ko not to go pro

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 17/02/2013
Michael Campbell
Getty Images
MICHAEL CAMPBELL: "What Lydia has achieved has been absolutely incredible. I'm very pleased for her and proud for New Zealand golf."

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Michael Campbell is encouraging Kiwi golf sensation Lydia Ko to resist growing calls to turn professional aged 15.

New Zealand's 2005 US Open champion says he "would love the chance to sit down with Lydia" and discuss life as a touring professional.

Major champion Campbell, 43, is back in regular contention on the European Tour and has been following Ko's progress with interest.

Since a stunning 2011 when the world No 1 women's amateur won two professional tournaments, including one which saw her lower the record as the youngest professional event winner, Ko has sent waves around the world.

"What Lydia has achieved has been absolutely incredible. I'm very pleased for her and proud for New Zealand golf in general," Campbell said.

"I first met Lydia at the New Zealand Golf awards three or four years ago. She was an ambitious talent at that point, it was before all this fame.

"Now lots of people know about her, they're all saying she should turn professional. I don't think she should necessarily listen to the opinions of people who don't know anything about the inner workings of elite golf, particularly the psychology.

"She's still very young, and clearly, what she is doing at the moment is working well. Whoever is looking after her seems to be doing a good job, and I think for the time being, she should carry on as she is. There's no need to rush."

Now based in southern Spain, Campbell said he would be happy to share his 20 years of experience on tour with Ko.

"Not only would it be interesting to hear her outlook on things, but I'd be more than happy to pass on my experiences. Lydia's a genuine asset to New Zealand sport and she should be cared for in the right way."

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- Sunday Star Times

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