Lydia Ko splits with long-time golf coach Wilson

COACH SPLIT: Teenage star Lydia Ko has split with the only golf coach she's ever had.
COACH SPLIT: Teenage star Lydia Ko has split with the only golf coach she's ever had.

Teenage star Lydia Ko has split with the only golf coach she's ever had, a risky move given the hugely successful partnership.

Talk of a split between the 16-year-old and her coach, Guy Wilson, has been circling for several weeks and Ko refused to address the subject in an interview with Fairfax Media yesterday, but  Wilson has confirmed the news today.

Later Ko told One News the move came because of the amount of time she would be playing overseas while Wilson remained in New Zealand.

"That means I'd only see like 10 times a year and to me that kind of situation did not work out, so that's why I thought it might be better to have a coach based somewhere in the States.''

She said she would remain friends with Wilson.  "Just because we're not coach-student thing any more doesn't mean we're not friends and we still talk which is good.''

It is understood she will be coached by Sean Hogan from American coaching guru David Leadbetter's academy in the United States. 

Having recently turned professional, Ko will ply her trade largely in the US next year on the LPGA Tour.

"It's been an honour to help develop Lydia into the No 4 golfer in the world," Wilson said in a statement to Fairfax Media this morning.

"When I first met her the golf clubs were taller than she was and she didn't know the first thing about a driver or a putter but now she has one of the most envied swings in the women's golf world.

"Lydia's consistent and outstanding performance is the ultimate payback for any coach and it has been truly wonderful working with someone with her talent, dedication and focus.

"I wish Lydia all the best and will watch proudly as she embarks on what I'm sure will be a hugely successful professional golfing career.

''We've spent a lot of time together over the past decade and during that time I've become very close to Lydia and her family. While I'm incredibly disappointed that our 11-year partnership is over, I respect Lydia and her team's decision.''

Wilson did not want to comment further than what he said in the statement, but he has every right to feel aggrieved.

Wilson has coached Ko for 11 years, ever since her family moved to the North Shore from South Korea, during which time she became the world No 1 amateur for three consecutive years, and rose as high as No 4 in the world golf rankings.

She won five professional titles while under Wilson's guidance, four of them as an amateur. Her record, as an amateur, is second-to-none and she's the hottest property in women's golf right now.

Ko last week signed a deal with IMG, who will provide marketing, sponsorship and management services, after turning pro in October, and till it is addressed there will be speculation this new partnership had a hand to play in Ko's split with Wilson. 

Fairfax Media