Lydia Ko Learns the Reality of Becoming a Corporation

Fred AltvaterContributor IIDecember 24, 2013

Lydia Ko is changing coaches.
Lydia Ko is changing coaches.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The control we have witnessed from Lydia Ko over the past couple of years on the golf course has evidently been given away off the course.

It was announced last week that sports marketing giant IMG would take over Ko’s management and marketing.

The next bit of news from the Ko camp came from One News in New Zealand on Monday: Ko had split with the coach who helped her achieve the No. 4 ranking in the world.

Guy Wilson had been Ko’s coach since she was five years old and the clubs were bigger than she was. With Wilson in New Zealand and Ko now traveling the world on the LPGA Tour, the decision was made to dump him for Sean Hogan of the David Leadbetter Academy.

Ko explained, “I'm going to be away from home. ... I'd only see him like 10 times a year and to me that kind of situation didn't work out.”

Wilson took the high road but was hurt by the decision. He was quoted as saying, "It’s been an honor to help develop Lydia into the No. 4 golfer in the world.”

SB Nation reported a more formal statement from Wilson: "We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past decade and during that time I’ve become very close to Lydia and her family. While I’m incredibly disappointed that our 11-year partnership is over, I respect Lydia and her team’s decision."

Never at a loss for words, fellow Kiwi super-caddie Steve Williams went on record to say that Ko’s decision was, "unethical" and "baffling" and that it could prove "detrimental to her career" in an interview with Radio New Zealand (via SB Nation).

In contrast, Rory McIlroy hired his longtime coach full time. He then went on to win the 2012 PGA Championship and the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours.

Where to live, when to play, who to work with and what to say are currently being decided for the 16-year-old Ko. These are exactly some of the reasons LPGA Tour commissioner Michael Whan is normally reluctant to grant tour membership to women younger than 18 years old.

Michelle Wie, also an IMG client, earned millions of dollars while still a teenager. But too much too fast seemed to prohibit her from attaining the success that was predicted for her.

One wonders what effect all these changes will have on Ko’s future performance.

After all, she is still a teenager, and teenagers tend to have rebellious natures and not react well to overbearing managers.