Lydia Ko: 'Confidence is the 15th and most important club in the bag'

Updated 1105 GMT (1905 HKT) September 13, 2018

On the face of it, it's the classic story of the sporting prodigy who burns twice as bright and half as long. Lydia Ko was the young golfer that achieved more as a teenager than anyone in the history of the sport. She was already winning professional tournaments at the age of 14 and became world No. 1 at 17, four years younger than Tiger Woods did in the men's game. Even now, with 15 LPGA Tour victories and two major titles under her belt, the New Zealander is still just 21.

And yet for many, it's hard to shake the feeling her best years might already be behind her. After holding the No. 1 ranking for 85 consecutive weeks and 104 overall as a teen, Ko failed to win a single tournament in the entirety of 2017. Ko is considerably younger than the current Rookie of the Year, Park-Sung hyun, and has already achieved more than most golfers do in a lifetime, but some commentators — not least her former coach David Leadbetter — are asking "What's wrong with Lydia?" and wondering if the Kiwi will ever hit the same heights again.

It's already my fifth year on the tour and I feel like I kind of set the bar very high for me at an early age ... that's why expectations went sky high.


"It's already my fifth year on the tour and I feel like I kind of set the bar very high for me at an early age," Ko tells CNN Sport. "That's why expectations went sky high." A look beyond the list of broken records reveals Ko is human just like the rest of us. Even the most dominant athletes can suffer from dips in form and confidence. "I would never think of myself as a phenom," she says. "I'm not comparable to Messi and Ronaldo ... I think there are so many greats and legends that have done so much more than me."
It certainly wasn't sheer physicality that set her apart from every other golfer who has played the game to date during her formative years on tour. "It was more of