Ko reveals retirement plans

World number one Lydia Ko has revealed that she plans to retire from professional golf at the age of 30 in order to pursue another career.

The 17-year-old Korean-born New Zealander broke the long-standing record of Tiger Woods as the youngest player in the history of golf to be ranked as the best player in the world last month, smashing the previous record of 21 years of age.

“I say my plan is to retire when I’m 30 so I’m not just going to go to the beach and hang out for the rest of my life,” Ko told reporters ahead of the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne this week.

“There’s always a second career that comes along with it and I’m trying to build up towards it and, because I’m playing a sport, psychology links well with it.

“You just never know what’s going to happen.”

Ko, who was just 14 when she won her first professional title, has enrolled at a Seoul university and will begin an online psychology degree next month.

“My mum will get me off my iPad and phone and tell me to work hard and look at the text books,” she added.

“When you have fun, everything kind of goes by fast, and going fast is not a bad thing when you’re playing 25 or 26 tournaments,” she said.

“When I’m having fun that’s when I play the best so money isn’t the most important thing.”

As world number one, Ko starts this week’s event Royal Melbourne as the favourite, with five-time Australian Open winner Karrie Webb, South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon and China’s Feng Shanshan seen as her main rivals for the title.

By her side will be her new caddy Jason Hamilton, who will be her ninth bagman in just over a year.

“I like Jason how he makes some dumb jokes, I guess sarcastic sentences,” she said.

“In a way bad jokes is my criteria.”