ORLANDO – For the first time in three years, Lydia Ko didn’t spend her off-season adjusting to a change to her team. She didn’t select a new caddie. She didn’t hunt down a new instructor. Instead, she spent her time off doing what she wanted to do.
In 2016 and 2017, the former Rolex Rankings world No. 1 spent the off-season overhauling her team as she looked for ways to improve her game. As those changes took hold Ko returned to the winner circle in April, after going winless for more than a year, and she amassed nine more top 10s in 2018.
For 2019, Ko didn’t see a reason to make another change.
“It’s definitely nice to not have to be getting used to something new,” Ko told LPGA.com at the season opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. “I feel like everything has been working well.”
Now, more than two years removed from the first wave of changes she made to her game, Ko remains confident in her choice to shake things up.
“I made those decisions, at the time, because I thought they would help me get better and become a better player,” Ko said. “It might have not have kicked in straight away, but I have no regrets in the decisions I made.”
That’s not to say Ko isn’t still looking for ways to improve or won’t ever make another change to her game. This week, she revealed to the media she has switched her gall ball from Callaway to Titleist. Ko also began a new activity during her time off, which will be benefit her both on and off the course.
She took up yoga.
Ko says the decision to begin taking classes, which she does for one hour several times each week, was as much for her mental performance as it was the desire to quiet life’s distractions.
“For me, the biggest thing about yoga is the meditation part. There’s not many times in the day where you don’t really do anything and clear your mind,” Ko explained. “You’re always on your phone or hear the sound of cars going, so it’s an hour of free-mind for me and just staying quiet and calm.”
Yoga, like golf, requires practice in order to perfect. Having successfully navigated the complete overhaul of her team and equipment, Ko knows good things come to those who wait. She knows it will take time to ease into the season and isn’t putting too many expectations on her first start of the year at this week’s inaugural Tournament of Champions, an event that will pair members of the LPGA with celebrities.
“It is definitely going to be a little different playing with other celebrities and amateurs. But I think it’s going to be fun-different,” Ko said about the new event. “Just seems like a lot of them have great personalities, being able to talk to them is going to be a fresh way to start the season. I’m really looking forward to it.”
For the first time in three years Ko is getting a fresh start to her season, free of changes and unknowns. Instead, Ko can focus on what she wants to achieve in 2019.