World No 1 Lydia Ko on Olympic dream, retirement and Adele
Cool, calm and collected, World No 1 Lydia Ko is flying high at the top of the women’s game. The New Zealand star talks about her Olympic dream, retirement plans and pop star Adele.
“I’m not a huge numbers person. I like to see what’s in front of me on the golf course rather than think about stats and what I’m involved in. David Leadbetter [Ko’s coach] likes numbers.
“He gets the feedback from each event so we can target certain areas when we practice. He might pick up on a pattern, say, from the 13th to 15th hole I make most bogeys – so maybe I need to eat some fruit or take on some water or whatever.
“Coming from Asia, my hero as a young girl was Si Re Pak. My father took me to see her at a tournament in Korea when I was six. I thought it was the most amazing thing, the way she made the ball fly.
“She was one of the first Koreans to be on the tour, to succeed, to win tournaments and win Majors. She brought a lot of energy back to Korea. So did K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang. I remember him beating Tiger [in the USPGA]. That’s where I came from, that type of background. I’ve always looked up to Phil Mickelson, also, and Michelle [Wie].
“I like to have my people around me – my team. There is so much to think about, so much to do. Obviously that has changed a little recently, there are more demands. It’s so hard to say no, but you have to balance it out.
“You guys want to talk to me because I’m playing well – if I was missing cuts you probably wouldn’t be here!
“I like to listen to music a lot but I mean fun music, not slow stuff. I love Lady Gaga, One-D, Rihanna. I don’t really like dance music. I love Adele. She’s amazing.
“I think the Olympics is the biggest goal; since the day they announced it I said my goal was to be in that team. I can’t see why golf shouldn’t be in the Olympics.
“My swing now with David Leadbetter is definitely different to two years ago. I mean, there are so many different types of swing. Look around the range. But for me I am not trying to swing it on a flat line, a single plane.
“When you hear David explain it, it makes a lot of sense, the way that the backswing works inside then up and across ready to fall naturally onto plane coming down. Fluid motion, the change of direction, the hit position. It all makes sense.
“The baseball drill is a great example of the way we use instincts to play consistent golf. The A Swing (Leadbetter’s latest book) is about synchronisation, how to blend arms and body together, how to simplify the path of the swing and the efficiency back to the ball.
“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’d be ready.
“My life role model is Nick Vujicic. 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.”
“My Lexus RC F Coupe has got 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 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’.”
- Charley Hull: Second in a Major, now on to the next one
- Madeleine Winner: Muirfield misogynists put golf back decades
- Interview: Annika Sorenstam on becoming the first woman to break 60