Altvater: Lydia Ko learns reality of becoming a corporationWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
The control we have witnessed from Lydia Ko over the past couple of years on the golf course has evidently been given away off the course.
It was recently announced that sports marketing giant IMG would take over Ko’s management and marketing.
The next bit of news from the Ko camp came from One News in New Zealand that Ko had split with the coach that had helped her achieve the No. 4 ranking in the world.
Guy Wilson had been Ko’s coach since she was 5 years old and the clubs were bigger than she was. With Wilson in New Zealand and Ko now traveling the world on the LPGA Tour, the decision was made to dump him for Sean Hogan of the David Leadbetter Academy.
Ko explained: “I am going to be away from home … and I would only get to see him like 10 times a year and to me that type of situation just will not work.”
Wilson took the high road, but was hurt by the decision. He was quoted as saying, “It’s been an honor to help develop Lydia into the No. 4 golfer in the world.”
SB Nation reported a more formal statement from Wilson: “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.”
Never at a loss for words, fellow Kiwi, super-caddie, Steve Williams went on record to say that Ko’s decision was, “unethical, baffling, and could be calamitous to her burgeoning golf career.”
Another super talented young player, Rory McIlroy, realizing that he needed his long-time coach, hired him fulltime. He then went on to win the 2012 PGA Championship and the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours.
Where to live, when to play, who to work with and what to say are currently being decided for the 16-year-old.
These are exactly some of the reasons LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan is normally reluctant to grant tour membership to women younger than 18 years old.
Although Michelle Wie, also an IMG client, earned millions of dollars while still a teenager, too much, too fast has seemed to prohibit her from attaining the success that was predicted for her.
One wonders what affect all these changes will have on Ko’s future performance?
After all, she is still a teenager. They can have a rebellious nature and a tendency to not react well to overbearing managers.