Golf: Kiwi star Lydia Ko changes caddy - again - for 2023 LPGA championship defence

Lydia Ko hugs caddy Derek Kistler after winning the LPGA tour championship
Lydia Ko hugs caddy Derek Kistler after winning the LPGA tour championship. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi golf star Lydia Ko will add to her notorious reputation for changing caddies, when she begins the defence of her LPGA crown this year.

Derek Kistler carried the bag for Ko's sensational 2022 comeback campaign, which saw her capture the US$2m CME Group Tour Championship, Player of the Year honours, the Vare Trophy for average scoring, three points towards Hall of Fame status and the world No.1 ranking.

But Ko's management has confirmed Kistler will not return for 2023, with Irishman David Jones inheritting the job.

Jones teamed with Ko for the 2021 Lotte Championship, where she broke her three-year title drought with a seven-stroke victory at Hawaii. He had previously helped Koreans In Gee Chun and Sung Hyun Park to LPGA Major titles from 2016-18, and most recently worked with Canadian Nick Taylor on the PGA Tour.

After bursting onto the professional golf circuit as a teenager, becoming the youngest player - male or female - to achieve the world No.1 spot, Ko went through some lean years, when she changed caddies on a regular basis.

In just over three years, Ko went through nine caddies.

"I wish her the best, but she's gone through so many caddies, she needs to wake up on caddie-player relationships," Gary Matthews told Golf Digest, after receiving his marching orders in 2017.

"Otherwise, she'll just keep doing it."