Lydia Ko wary of Inbee Park challenge at ANA Inspiration
Lydia Ko claimed that her rival Inbee Park will have a better handling of the Major pressure than herself in the build up to the first Women’s Major of the 2015 season.
“I know someone who does that better than me, which is Inbee,” said Ko. “She’s got the full poker face.”
The 17-year old, looking for her first Major title, is also looking to change her handling of the high pressure situations despite her impressive run of 28 under-par rounds: “Sometimes I get angry. But even when I get angry, maybe it’s only my caddie and I that knows it.
“I just try and stay calm. Sometimes there are emotions that go on, but I know that when there are a lot of things that are going around in my head, those little thoughts, that’s when I overcomplicate things and I don’t play good, so I’m trying to simplify things.”
When asked about her impressive under-par run, the 17-year old referenced singer Taylor Swift and strangely, sushi: “Yeah, forever and ever. It’s like a lyric off a Taylor Swift song. Yeah, 28 consecutive rounds under par, I wasn’t really counting until Golf Channel told me that was going on.”
“I’ve been just trying to have fun out there, and David keeps telling me don’t worry about the record, just think of it as how many sushis can you have, and he said, I’ve had 28 right now. Hopefully we can continue that on.”
Inbee Park was full of praise for the young New Zealander, saying: “Obviously what Lydia is doing right now is amazing, having 28 under-par rounds in a row. I think she’s just been really consistent.”
“I just don’t think there is room for her. She’s just really playing good golf,’ said the South Korean. But regaining her No.1 title is her main aim this season: “Going back to No. 1 is definitely a good goal for me for this year, because I’ve been there before, and if I had never been there before, then I’d probably really want to be there.
“But now I’ve been there before, and I think I’m a little bit more relaxed, and I feel like with good golf I’ll get there, even if I don’t want it.
“That’s not my only concern. Obviously the career Grand Slam is in my mind, definitely, and that would be the one that I really want the most.”
Obviously the career Grand Slam is in my mind, definitely, and that would be the one that I really want the most. The Mission Hills tournament is famous for seeing winners jump into the Poppies Pond.
Current World Number Three, and 2011 tournament winner Stacy Lewis stating that she believe this is the greatest celebration in golf: “Gosh, Poppies Pond, I think it’s the greatest celebration in golf. I really do.
“I think it’s something that as a little kid you see these players just so genuinely excited, acting like you.
“They’re acting like a little kid, just jumping in a pond. I think it’s something that everybody can relate to, everybody can — they just genuinely see how excited you are, which I don’t think you always see in golf.”
Bookies favourite, Ko, is also fond of the Poppies Pond tradition and couldn’t deny dreaming of the ‘jump’: “If I said no, it would be a lie. I kind of walked along the bridge yesterday when I was playing, and said, oh, they cleaned out all the moss and all that in the water, so it’s very clean.
“So yeah, it’s ready for somebody to jump in there.
“I just love the traditions. It’s not done anywhere else.”
Park is also a big fan of the tradition: “I think jumping into Poppies Pond is very special for everyone, and looking at every past champions, going in the pond, you want to be in there.
“I know how good it feels. I think that’s what this tournament makes special.”
ROLEX RANKINGS SCENARIOS
The fight at the top of the Rolex Rankings continues this week in the desert with Inbee Park being the only player to have a chance to unseat Lydia Ko at No. 1. Here are the scenarios:
Inbee Park would become No. 1 if:
• She wins AND Lydia Ko finishes in a tie for third or worse.
• She wins AND Ko finishes in a five-way tie for second
• She finishes solo second and Lydia finishes 33rd (not counting any ties) or worse