The Cut : The Cut - Spring 2016
36 THE CUT “I’d say that’s quite an accurate description of her. There are very few flaws in her game. She’s not overly long, she’s not an amazing putter, she doesn’t hit a one shape ball, she just does everything pretty well. The consistency component was something we’d always worked on, because she’s never been a long hitter – based on her size plus her age – and we had to figure out a way of her getting round the golf course with her length. When she was very young and playing in her early New Zealand Opens it meant using lots of drivers and woods to the greens, whereas her adult competitors were using a driver and mid-iron. Now her length is pretty standard compared to the rest of the girls, but her tempo and timing is still there, which means she doesn’t hit many wayward shots and her short game is still amazing. That was one of the things she had to have really strong when she was a teenager playing against the adults, in order to give her an ability to make up-and-downs and to convert any opportunities she had on the course. “We worked really hard on her short game and used our imaginations to figure out a way for her to get the ball into the hole when she was young, even before she probably should have known how to do such stuff. It was a lot easier to work on around- the-green stuff than it was off the tee, because the tee on normal holes is light years away from the green for a kid, whereas around the green it’s a lot more fun to be able to chip a ball close.” If 2012 was an amazing year, 2013 provided more of the same. Not only did Lydia repeat her victory at the Canadian Women’s Open, which took her to a world ranking of seventh, but for the first time she won a professional event on home soil, beating Amelia Lewis of the United States to take out the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, played at Clearwater. She also played in all five majors and performed with distinction in them all. Her lowest placing was tied 42nd at the British Open, her best showing second at the Evian Championship. In three of the five tournaments she was the leading amateur. The big question loomed large: when would Lydia announce she was turning pro? Technically too young to play full-time on the LPGA – she was still only 16 years old after all – it was up to the powers that be to give their permission. Of course, they were never going to refuse. Interestingly, it was with her new pal, All Black Israel Dagg, goofing around alongside her on the golf course, rather than her long-time coach as might have been expected, that Lydia went public with her decision to turn pro. The date was 23 October. The guard was changing and changing rapidly. Exactly two months later she announced that Guy was no longer her coach. Journalist and author Heather Kidd was editor of THE CUT for nine years. Her fifth book, My Life in Golf – Inspiring Kiwi Stories, is published by Bateman ($39.99). LEFT: Guy and Lydia, 16 and still an amateur, after her five-shot win at the 2013 Canadian Open. BELOW: Coach, mentor, caddie. But soon after Lydia turned pro Guy was replaced by world-renowned coach David Leadbetter.
The Cut - Winter 2016
The Cut - Summer 2017