2 May 2014

Paying Ko will help her feel connected to NZ says coach

11:51 am on 2 May 2014

Lydia Ko's coach David Leadbetter says continued government support for the professional golfer will help strengthen her ties to New Zealand.

High Performance Sport New Zealand, the body that allocates sports funding, is reviewing Ko's funding needs after she earned $315,000 for her LPGA Tour win this week.

Leadbetter says government-funded athletes are a reality in modern sport and he thinks it's important Ko still feels connected to New Zealand.

He says with Ko now being based in the United States for most of the year, New Zealand sports officials won' want to lose touch with her, and funding is one way of maintaining that relationship.

Leadbetter says he doesn't want that to sound too mercernary and as if Ko is being paid to keep in touch, as the 17-year-old's very proud of her New Zealand roots.

And he doubts she'd switch allegiances to her birth country, South Korea.