19 Apr 2017

Ko told to "wake up"

3:00 pm on 19 April 2017

Lydia Ko's former caddie has made a passing shot on his way out the door - telling the world number one to "wake up".

Lydia Ko and her new caddy Gary Matthews are splitting despite Ko's finishing runner-up at the latest LPGA event.

Ko with Matthews in Hawaii. Photo: Photosport

Ko fired South African bagman Gary Matthews after just nine events together which included her best finish of the season, a tie for second at the LPGA Tour's Lotte Championship in Hawaii on the weekend.

Matthews replaced Ko's longest serving caddie - Australian Jason Hamilton, after the 19-year-old fired the later last October during a period when she switched clubs and also fired her coach - David Leadbetter.

Since the changes, Ko has been in a form slump, missing just the second cut of her career last month and has spent the last two weeks on the tour scrambling to hold onto the world number one crown.

"In all honesty, there is no communication in the whole camp. You never know anything or are told anything," Matthews told Golf Digest. "The agent [Michael Yim of IMG] called me on the Monday after Palm Springs and said, 'She needed a change, we're going with somebody else, but you can caddie in Hawaii.'

"I'm like well, never in 19 years have I been fired, and I'm still working for the person. What was so strange for me, we worked unbelievably well in Hawaii, the communication and everything was just phenomenal."

Matthews, who has worked for Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, Trevor Immelman and Camilo Villegas, was told that Ko "needed a friend out there." In a little more than three years, Ko has gone through nine caddies.

Matthews said Ko is a lovely person, but was blunt in his assessment.

"I wish her the best, but she's gone through so many caddies, she needs to wake up on caddie-player relationships," said Matthews. "Otherwise she'll just keep doing it."

This is not the first time Ko's business rapport has come under fire. After parting ways with Ko in December, renowned instructor David Leadbetter was outspoken in the role Ko's parents play in her life, saying it was time Lydia became captain of her own ship.

Ko is scheduled to play in next week's Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. Her team is still looking for a new caddie.

-RNZ/Golf Digest