Golf: 'She's a special player': Lydia Ko's coach Sean Foley sets sights on return to top

Lydia Ko's coach Sean Foley has big expectations for the former world No.1, as he attempts to help her return to consistent form.

The Kiwi golfer broke through with two 'Major' titles before her 19th birthday, but has since struggled to recapture that form.

Fast forward five years and the now 23-year-old still has two Majors to her name, but there's a feeling she's got the balance right with her new coach.

“I just want to work with people I believe in and she's one of the more incredible people I've met,” Foley tells Newshub.

Her sixth coach in four years, Foley has been working with Ko since July.

“She's a special player, she blows me away on a daily basis,” he adds. 

And Foley knows special when he sees it.

He helped Tiger Woods to eight of his career wins between 2010-14, and was part of Justin Rose's team when he won his only Major and rose to No.1 in the world.

He says he's making small changes to help Ko’s game.

“What we've done together has freed her up to where the game is becoming more simple again,” Foley notes.

Since he came on board, Ko - now 36th in the world - has recorded seven top-15 finishes in 11 starts, including a second at the Marathon Classic. 

“I think everything is in a great place. I think 2021 is going to be an incredible year."

But getting the former world No.1 back to winning ways won't be easy, he warns.

“When you're climbing the mountain, even if you get to the summit, you're still going to have to go through avalanches," says Foley. "You're still going to have to walk through blizzards."

An LPGA tour veteran already, Foley admits it’s easy to forget just how young Ko still is, but the child prodigy has had her fair share of critics. 

Foley with Justin Rose last year.
Foley with Justin Rose last year. Photo credit: Getty

“It's the danger of the prodigy," Foley points out. "When the game came really easy to them, then they went into a different direction, it became really difficult. 

"It's tough for them to then put their finger on what they did in the first place."

But he has seen first hand the type of inspiration she already has on the next generation.

"A lot has changed in six years, and there's probably quite a few young woman this year at the US Open who saw her and said 'man, it's possible now you get to compete against the people you inspired'."