Sport

Ko gives caddie the boot

Lydia Ko of New Zealand watches her shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand watches her shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea. Lee Jin-man

THE par-five ninth at the US Open might be the hole that fractured Lydia Ko's relationship with caddie Jason Hamilton.

Ko has split with the Australian, who has carried her clubs since the end of the 2014 season, culminating in 13 titles including two major wins.

The New Zealander's coach David Leadbetter revealed to Radio Sport that Ko and Hamilton separated last week, which has affected her during a recent form slump.

"I think that's been on her mind a little bit. The reasons are a little uncertain at the moment. They felt they weren't getting on together. It wasn't acrimonious in any way,” Leadbetter told Radio Sport.

Ko took on Hamilton, who previously worked with former world No.1 Yani Tseng, at the start of last year after auditioning eight caddies.

She will use a couple of temporary caddies for the remainder of the 2016 season.

A double-bogey that blew Ko's lead at the US Open might be the reason behind the break-up. Ko held a one-shot lead going into the hole but recorded a seven on the par five before going on to finish in a tie for third with a final-round three-over 75.

"Sometimes I've found with young players they can become too reliant on their caddie,” Leadbetter said.

"At the US Open I felt she should have won that tournament and I think she made a poor decision and I think she relied on her caddie to make it. A lot of times, more experienced players will make a decision and go for it. I think she got talked into a shot on the ninth hole, a par five where there was no way she should have gone for it. She should have laid up and she made a double (bogey) on the hole.”

American Brittany Lang won the tournament after beating Sweden's Anna Nordqvist in a controversial three-hole playoff.

Hamilton told GolfChannel.com: "She told me in the clubhouse after the round (at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea) that she felt like now was a good time to make a change.

"She said she thought it would be good to get a different set of eyes out there.”

"These things happen, it's part of the game.”

The world No.1's been unable to hit her usual lofty heights of late, with just one top-five finish from her last five tournaments. She produced her worst result of 2016 on the weekend after finishing well back in South Korea in a tie for 51st.

NZ HERALD

Topics:  david leadbetter jason hamilton lydia ko


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