Lydia Ko: Time to relax
Ever wondered what some of the biggest names in golf get up to off the course? Well Lydia Ko gives us an insight into her life away from playing, discussing Adele, films and where she’d like to settle down once she is retired.
What do you do to relax away from golf?
I like to listen to music a lot but I mean fun music, not slow stuff. Lady Gaga, One-D and Rihanna are good but I don’t really like dance music. I love Adele. She’s amazing.
She was great in James Corden’s car karaoke…
Oh, she was awesome. I’ve seen all of those. Rod Stewart, 1D, Elton John but Adele is the best. Just so funny. And what a voice. She’s so powerful. I like to watch movies too. And I like shooting…
Yeah [laughs]. I mean I like shoot-em-up movies, action, thrillers. I don’t mean I like shooting. Ha ha, that’s so funny. I’m not into all the romance stuff either. That’s way too boring.
Now you’ve past your driving test you’re young, free, mobile and single?
Ha! I only have my Learner’s licence. I have to have someone with me in the car. When you drive on a Learner’s you are restricted, you can only drive between certain hours of the day with a guardian. Right now, I’m quite happy with that. I don’t ever really need to drive anywhere without my dad or my sister. It’s not legal until you have the written test.
Tell me about your first car – how would you describe the performance of the Lexus RC F Coupe?
Well, it’s got turbo engines and… What’s funny about me saying that? It has turbo engines. I don’t know how many, but it’s fast. Probably too fast for a new driver like me, which is why I take it very easy. I love how low and grounded it is, I feel super-grounded. Especially when it gets windy, the car feels so stable. It seems to stick to the road. And it brakes really well, too. I mean it’s a fast car so it better have good brakes, right? But I saw it on the ads and I just thought it looked so cool. It was blue in the ads, so I just said to my agent, ‘I want that car – in that exact colour’.
You live just around the corner at Reunion Resort with your family – are you into cooking?
I don’t mind but I don’t like cleaning up my mess. My mom does the cooking and she’s brilliant. I finish late most days if I am at home working at Champions Gate. Mom creates some great Korean food. We eat Korean all the time. I can do some stuff – I’m good at copying things, like a recipe from a book, and it will taste good. But I couldn’t just eyeball a dish and make something up. The fire alarm went off the last time I tried to make noodles.
Your schedule takes you on a non-stop international adventure – do you enjoy the travel?
I like it, yeah. It can be tiring on your body, but I like seeing different places and experiencing different cultures. I see it as something to enjoy when you’re young. Trying different things. I’m a foodie, so that aspect of it is great. You go to places like Singapore where it is so modern. Then you go to Scotland or the UK and it’s almost like living in the generation before. I like to experience this stuff, so many different cultures, I enjoy visiting new cities.
Not everyone who does what you do for a living would pick up on the differences – a lot of players seem to travel in a vacuum.
It’s easy to miss what is around you. I like it. I think that comes from growing up in New Zealand, where you are just so aware of the natural beauty around you. If every- where was just the same one whole big country life would be pretty boring.
Where would you choose to live, to settle down?
When I retire I want to go to Queenstown, NZ, because there is nothing, and I mean nothing to do. Great for physical activities, water activities. But no city life. At that age, 50 say, I would be ready.
Do you have it in mind that you will retire from the game at a certain age?
I want to retire at 30. Then I want a year when I can travel…I am a big foodie. I want to try everything I possibly can. You know, when we go to a tournament, like France for the Evian, I wouldn’t say I’ve properly tried French cuisine. We try to avoid hotels, we will get a unit, a condo, with kitchen. We have a little house there and my mom is there and she cooks Korean food because that’s what we are used to and it’s almost like part of my routine, it’s what we know and best to stay that way for my golf. I’ve never been ill a day in my life and I think it’s diet. But when I finish with playing I’d like to travel and try everything.
Where is the best place you’ve eaten?
I was at a restaurant at Banyan Tree Club and Spa in Seoul on holiday and Leo Kang – described as Korea’s answer to Gordon
Ramsey – had just been appointed head chef. He does this amazing Taste Odyssey every month and It was outright the best food I’ve ever had. It’s a gourmet journey. I posted a picture of it on Instagram – a whole plate of oysters, clams, the best roast ever, lobster, ravioli, it was good for everyone’s palette I said to my mom, ‘I’m sorry, mom. But this is the best food I’ve ever had.’
Do you miss wearing the glasses?
You know, it still feels weird. I wear contacts now. Even when I first started wear- ing contacts I wore plain glasses for a while, they were just like windows – I didn’t like the way I looked without them. But last year, around this time, I decided to lose the glasses, and it’s been great. The contacts have made such a difference. Maybe one day I’ll look at laser surgery.
Who inspires you?
My life role model is Nick Vujicic. I doubt you’ve ever heard of him. He’s Australian but he lives in California. He has no limbs – no arms, no legs. A birth defect. He’s tried to commit suicide. But he has learned to accept who he is and live life to the full. He has learned to swim, to surf, to skydive, he speaks to thousands of people.
I mean, people like him…this is just such a cliche but they just put everything in your life into perspective. I find myself saying, ‘I wish I had this or I wish I had that, I wish I was two inches taller, I wish, I wish…’
He probably wishes he had one arm. It’s amazing how positive he is. He is a motivational speaker, he talks to school kids about confidence, about loving who you are. He has a family, two kids. I mean, come on?