|Lydia Ko made worldwide headlines over the weekend when she won the New South Wales Open aged 14. Now she is stepping up to the Gold Coast RACV Ladies Masters, where she has been grouped with Lexi Thompson and Kristie Smith for the first round. |
|NSW Open champion Lydia Ko
Thanks everybody I would just like to welcome everybody and Lydia Ko into the media centre. How was it out there today?
For me it was brighter then yesterday. I was just getting the feel of the course.
Did you enjoy it, was it wet out there?
It wasn’t too bad, like yesterday the back of my leg was brown but today, it’s not too bad.
Lydia the last few days there is obviously new attention on you from the media, have you enjoyed that, is it a bit surreal, would you rather live without it or?
I guess I have to deal with it. It was good to win, you can’t just take the negatives and say ‘hey to the media’. I’m getting use to it. People keep asking me if I’m back on earth again. I think so, I hope so.
What’s the prospect of playing with Lexi tomorrow and Friday? Are you nervous?
It’s going to be exciting, and I just met her yesterday, and she seemed pretty nice, and I can’t wait.
Were you nervous?
Yeah, I think so.
And do you feel in awe of her?
Um… Well just a little bit, I mean Kristy and Lexi I see what they do. They are two big hitters, and I’m a big short.
You’re not that short of a hitter, Sunday, you were hitting it that way.
Yeah but Lexi is a head taller then me.
You won’t be in awe, you will?
How do you handle all these distractions?
Yeah I just enjoy it out there. I think it’s just like any other round. Obviously I am playing with two special people. Just playing casual golf, having fun. My goal is to just to make the cut.
Will that chap be behind you tomorrow on the bag?
Yep. Guy will be. I’ve had three different caddies over the last three weeks. Hopefully this ones good. The other two were good.
The bet's on to get him into the lake right?
It’s a bit more intense this time. Dress like a woman, full make up, takes some photos. I think that’s fair.
Looking ahead to this year, the opportunity to play, and your position as number one amateur in the world, will it provide you with the opportunity to play in the women’s British Open and those other events?
Well I’m kind of looking forward to getting a few invites to pro tournaments. Like the Kraft which is in March. Like a few of those LPGA tournaments. Even getting a spot in the US Amateur was pretty hard. I had to do the qualifying last year. To get a spot and do the Championship without qualifying this year would be really nice.
Do you know if getting a spot in the US Open would be easier then the Amateur?
Well they still need to see if the rankings are working or not. Maybe if I go to the States in June/July, mum was thinking I should just play the US Open qualifier as well.
Lydia, NZ golf are trying to raise some money for you to go over there, and a lot of people are making donations to try and get you there, how does that make you feel?
Really I guess supportive. I may not get as much funds as we want, but people trying to do this is pretty nice. We made the Lydia Ko Trust fund. Which worked out well last year. But no money at the moment, we used it all at once.
Does that sort of put a bit of pressure on you, do you feel that because you are trying to get this money you need to perform at an elite level.
Yeah because I have to play golf at a certain level otherwise I can’t get the funds to be up there and gain peoples interest. Pretty much have to be good at everything.
I think a Hamish Carter has established a company for you, to try and raise some funds.
Really, I had no idea.
You worked with Guy, at the International Institute of Golf, you have a few other good players there, and do you spend a lot of time with those other players.
Not really, but sometimes I get an opportunity to play with them and it’s a fun round and they are all friendly people, and I learn lots. They make it really enjoying. It’s not serious and pretty relaxed and fun.
We asked Lexi yesterday about schooling. It must be difficult for you.
Yeah especially at the start of the year. I play lots and lots of golf and travel a lot and go to different countries, and I miss a lot of school and it’s hard for me to catch up afterwards, but it’s also hard for me to do during tournament time. At my school in my grade there are seven subjects, but that I have reduced that down to three subjects during last year. It is working out easier now then at the start of last year, but its still hard.
How are you splitting time to study?
In NZ school goes up to grade 13, I just need finish years 11-13. But this year there is a lot more exams this year. A lot more, makes it hard.
What’s Guy like with your subjects, does he help you.
Yeah… No… especially not with Maths, maybe speech writing but that’s it.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Laura Davies, has she spoken to you much this week, have you had anything to do with her?
No not really. But when I played with her at the Pegasus NZ last year, it was great fun, and when someone gets a five iron, and makes a tee from the grass, it’s interesting. It’s her own uniqueness.
You made world headlines last weekend, a lot of people have heard about you now, is there a lot of expectations for you to win this tournament, are those thoughts going through your mind, do you allow yourself to think you can win this tournament?
Ah, well like even the last two tournaments, the Australian Amateur and NSW Open, I haven’t really played to win, I just tried my best, and eventually won, which is pretty good. But this week there are so many great players, advanced from last week and my first goal is just to make the cut. I would like to win, but it’s not an urge.
Did you treat yourself to anything after winning the NSW Open last weekend?
No, we just had take away pizza.
Is there a plan for you for professional golf, is there a timeline?
We are thinking maybe turn pro in 3 or 4 years. And if I can keep my award amateur status, then I will be able to get more chances to go to events and professional events even though I’m an amateur. I guess its just experience and being able to play consistent golf. Consistent as in good scoring.
You’re just cute really; you don’t want to play professionally, playing for money.
Ah I wouldn’t mind money. I don’t think anyone will mind. I don’t especially like pressure, but it’s something I have to handle, like playing in these kind of big tournaments I need that pressure otherwise I’ll be down there.
After the NZ Open is there a break for you?
No, after the Open I travel back to Australia to play the Cup, maybe a week or two rest, then the NZ team play the in Victoria for the Trans-Tasman Cup.
Your mum is obviously very encouraging; are there any drills that she has helped you with putting or chipping?
Not really. I’m more practical and do things rather then thinking, so I kind of like challenges, Guy and I use to do Chipping comps and mum and I have putting competitions.
As a fourteen year old, what do you like to do?
Facebook. And going out and TV.