Lydia Ko Pairs with Famed Caddy at Pinehurst

Professional golfer Lydia Ko, 17, ranked No 3 in the world, has been keeping good company of late, playing a nine-hole practice round at Pinehurst recently with sexagenarian caddie Mike Cowan, who worked for Tiger Woods early in Woods’s professional career.

“I think personally he’s more famous than me,” Ko said.

When it comes to settling on a caddie, Ko is content to speed date until she finds the perfect match.

One change Ko said she was not prepared to make is her national affiliation.

Her birth country of South Korea has a considerable TV and corporate following in women’s golf. Ko’s popularity and marketability no doubt would be enhanced if she were to renounce her ties to New Zealand – where she has lived since she was five – and compete as a South Korean.

Danny Lee, a South Korean-born New Zealander who has made 62 PGA Tour starts, said he had been asked if he would change his national affiliation in time for the 2016 Olympics. It would not surprise him, he said, if Ko were wrestling with the same issue.

“I’m pretty sure it’s tough for Lydia because she’s playing so well, I think every country wants her,” Lee said at a tour stop last month in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I think it’s the same question as ‘Do you like your mom better or your dad better?’”

Ko said she was happy playing for New Zealand, adding: “But at the same time, when somebody looks at me, they’re not going to think, ‘Oh, she’s a New Zealander.’ I am Korean, you know, you can see. But I think Korea and New Zealand is both in me.”

Original article by Karen Crousejune, The New York Times, June 18, 2014.

Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Tags: Auckland  Danny Lee  Lydia Ko  Mike Cowan  New York Times (The)  Tiger Woods  

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