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Rising star Ko, coach part ways

AFP-JIJI

Guy Wilson, teen golfer Lydia Ko’s long-time coach, said Monday that the New Zealander had split with him after 11 years, leaving him “incredibly disappointed.”

Wilson, who has coached the world No. 4 since she was just 5 years old, confirmed he had been fired by Ko, who signed with management giant IMG this month after turning pro in October.

“When I first met her, the golf clubs were taller than she was and she didn’t know the first thing about a driver or a putter, but now she has one of the most envied swings of the women’s golf world,” Wilson said in a statement.

He said he wished the 16-year-old the best in “what I’m sure will be a hugely successful golfing career.”

“While I’m incredibly disappointed that our 11-year partnership is over, I respect Lydia and her team’s decision,” Wilson said.

“Lydia’s consistent and outstanding performance is the ultimate payback for any coach and it has been truly wonderful working with someone with her talent, dedication and focus.”

The South Korean-born Ko won her first event as a professional in Taiwan this month after a stellar amateur career, which included becoming the youngest player to win a pro tournament, at 14.