17 Aug 2016

Ko ponders weight of gold in Rio

4:33 pm on 17 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - World number one golfer Lydia Ko spends more time thinking about how a medal would feel around her neck than the psychological weight of playing in Rio.

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko, 2016.

Lydia Ko has been asking her caddie what it would be like to stand on the podium at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Photosport

Ko, who will be in action tonight (New Zealand time), says she's aware of talk that New Zealand hasn't collected as many gold medals as might have been expected.

"Even though we haven't has as many gold medals as we would have loved, but you can overlook [what's been achieved] just by the result and medal count. But these athletes have completed so much in their careers and their sports."

She said if she and other New Zealanders competing in Rio could add to the count, it would be great.

"But I'm pretty sure we're not thinking about all the pressure of the Olympics and are just enjoying it, and if we end up holding a medal at the end of the week that's going to be special.

"I keep asking my caddie about what it would be like standing on the podium, what it would be like to be holding a medal. That's the question I keep thinking about, rather than - 'hey, there's so much pressure on me'.

Ko said it was very special to her to be part of the New Zealand Olympic team - something she had thought would never have been possible.

After golf was added to the Olympics in 2009, it had always been on her mind.

Asked how she would compare an Olympic gold medal to a golf major title, she said representing New Zealand and competing in the Olympics was probably her biggest goal for this year.

"If I end up holding a gold medal and standing on the podium it would be extra special. I don't know if I would ever be able to take that medal off!" she said.

"I would never want to take away the two majors I won, but I think that's going to be same for the Olympics. To be able to win a championship alongside the best players is something you can't take away from."

Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko said competing in the Olympics was her biggest goal for the year. Photo: Photosport

She told a press conference, including a solid contingent of international media representatives, she had watched some of her New Zealand teammates compete, including shot putter and silver medallist Val Adams, and the men's golfing duo, Ryan Fox and Danny Lee - for whom she had had to sacrifice some valuable sleep time.

"I watched Foxy and Danny yesterday, it was really cool. I normally love my sleep but yesterday I slept a little less so I could watch them. I told them 'I don't think I've ever woke up at 7am to watch someone else play!' But it was great and we took a photo together and it felt like - 'Hey, Team New Zealand'."

Ko said she had a practice session and had completed six holes of the Olympic course and felt it would "play fine".

"The course is playing in good condition. It depends on the weather, but it's forecast to be pretty nice all week. If it does get firm it means we have a little more roll on the fairways, which is not a bad thing.

"It might make it a little tougher to hold on the greens, but that's the thing we've got to play with and that's why it goes back to creativity ... sometimes you might have to hit lower shots that land short and run up, or higher shots that land over the mound and end up staying there."

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