Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko will tee it up with a local caddie this week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, her first start since she parted ways with Jason Hamilton, her caddie of two years.
According to her management team, Ko will look to Gary Matthews to tote her bag for her final two events of the year, the Toto Japan Classic and the CME Group Tour Championship. Matthews is a former caddie to Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas.
“I'm planning to make all the decisions for next year after CME,” Ko said in her pretournament news conference Tuesday in Malaysia. “I want to get this year done and finish strong and not worry about what's going to come up.”
Steve Williams, the former caddie to Tiger Woods, was quoted by Fairfax New Zealand media wondering if Ko hit “the panic button” changing caddies after a run off her form.
“It’s very surprising news,” Williams said. “This is the first form slump of any kind she’s had as a professional – and it’s only a slight form dip – and it doesn’t seem like a reason to release her caddie. Maybe they’ve hit the panic button a bit early.”
Ko was asked Tuesday about Williams’ comment.
“I can't really say anything,” Ko said. “It's his opinion, and it's what he thinks. So what somebody else thinks is really out of my hands, so I guess I have to respect that.”
Hamilton told Golf Channel that Ko told him after the final round at the KEB HanaBank Championship that she needed a “different set of eyes” with her. After using a revolving door of caddies most of her rookie year, Ko hired Hamilton before the Sime Darby Malaysia two years ago. They won 10 LPGA titles and two major championships together. Hamilton is on Ha Na Jang’s bag this week.
“I really think that some people might think I might have ended on bad terms with my former caddie, Jason,” Ko said. “But, no, I really enjoyed working with him ... It's been a lot of fun. But, you know, I think sometimes change is a good thing, and he's working with another great player. So all the best to that team, too.”