The world's best women's amateur golfer, Lydia Ko, will
not be playing in Dunedin next month and will be seen sparingly
in this country next year.
Ko (15) has blazed a trail of success all round the globe
over the past 12 months while remaining an amateur and was
expected to be the major drawcard at the women's
interprovincial championships to be held at the St Clair Golf
Club next month.
But Ko's coach, Guy Wilson, confirmed yesterday the youngster
would be playing in Taiwan at the same time as the event at
She had been invited to the Swinging Skirts tournament in
Taiwan which had now become a fully credited LPGA tournament.
The event, in which all players and officials have to wear
skirts, used to be just an invitational competition. It will
carry official world ranking points and would be played over
three rounds after a charity skins game on December 6.
Wilson said it was a tough decision to make on where to play
but the Taiwanese event held many attractions, playing
against high-quality golfers, and a sanctioned event.
"It is disappointing she can not play in the interprovincials
as it is something she always enjoys and has fun playing in,"
"She does not play in many team events so it would have been
good to be part of a team.
"But this event in Taiwan is too good to turn down."
Ko, who has just finished her exams in year 11, is one of the
hottest properties in the sport after winning the Canadian
Open in August, one of the top tournaments in women's golf.
Earlier in the year, she won the New South Wales Open but, as
with the Canadian event, she did not take any of the purse as
she is still an amateur.
She is the top-ranked women's amateur player in the world
after winning the Australian and United States amateur
The Korean-born Ko has spent the past month and a-half
studying for exams and is now back on the golf course
practising her game.
She attends Pinehurst School on the North Shore and was
likely to have been the North Harbour No 1 in the event next
Wilson said Ko's ability meant she would "sooner or later
grow out of this calibre of event".
She was likely to play only three events in New Zealand next
One would be the New Zealand PGA in Arrowtown in late
February, while she was also likely to play at the New
Zealand women's Open at Pegasus in mid February and the New
Zealand Amateur championships at Manawatu in April.
Wilson said Ko's calendar was being planned for next year and
it would involve a lot of overseas play. But she would
continue to attend Pinehurst School where possible and the
trips overseas would be shorter than this year when she spent
five months out of New Zealand.
The loss of Ko is a blow to the tournament, to be played from
It means the top male and top female amateur golfers would
not be appearing at interprovincial tournaments in Dunedin
Southlander Vaughan McCall, who is the country's No 1, is
bypassing the men's event at the Otago Golf Club, from
December 4-8, as he has been invited to play in the