LYDIA’S FOCUS ON TITLE DEFENCE
Under pressure World No 1 keeps mind away from rankings
LOS ANGELES I think you’d probably be the number one ranked player anyway ... it’s more about consistency and how many times you can put yourself in contention and then sometimes being able to pull it off.”
Lydia’s missed cut in Carlsbad, which she said came down to a balky putter, was just the second of her pro career.
But she insisted she wouldn’t let it drag her down.
“I’m just going to try and erase last week,” Lydia said. “I’m just going to think last week was just an off-week and just move on.”
With her ANA Inspiration victory last year Lydia became the youngest two-time major champion in LPGA Tour history.
She had become the youngest golfer, male or female. to win a major title in the modern era at the Evian the previous September.
Lydia sealed the victory with a two-foot birdie putt after a brilliant approach shot on the final hole, beating In Gee and England’s Charley Hull by one stroke.
“You know, the real special thing is walking down across that bridge and seeing all the different names of these great legends that have walked this path and also jumped in Poppy’s Pond and won this championship,” said Lydia.
“That’s the great thing about this event is that there is so much history behind it.”
Ariya was in prime position to capture her first LPGA win at one of the tour’s most revered venues last year, but she bogeyed her final three holes to finish fourth, two strokes behind Lydia.
She rebounded with a vengeance, stringing together three victories last May and winning back-to-back titles later in the year that included the Women’s British Open.
The Thai snatched LPGA Player of the Year honours from Lydia, even though she hasn’t yet been able to nudge the New Zealander from the top of the rankings.
Ariya said this year that her disappointment at Rancho Mirage,
“The only way we can accurately assess their impact is to conduct an actual test during official competition on one or more of our tours.
“We look forward to seeing how these tests go and carefully evaluating the use of the devices. Our evaluation will consider the impact on pace of play, optics and any other effects they might have on the competition.”
The first event to feature the test will be the Costa Rica Classic on April 20-23. AFP was the key to what proved a remarkable season.
“I learned a lot, especially the last three holes,” she said. “Last year, I just kept hitting the ball and tried to do the same thing even though I was nervous. I learned that when I get nervous, I have to do something different.”
Lydia knows the lesson has made Ariya an even more dangerous rival.
“Ariya played so well last year,” Lydia said. “Obviously it wasn’t the greatest end to the ANA, but she won a lot after that. She just played consistently well. She’s going to continue to keep playing well and go for those trophies.” AFP
Lydia Ko is aware her No 1 status is under threat. AFP PIC