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Caddie tees off at Ko camp after joining discard pile

Gary Matthews parted ways with the 19-year-old after the Lotte Championship in Hawaii over the weekend where she finished joint runner-up behind Christie Kerr.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand stands with her caddie Gary Matthews and bag on the first hole during the final round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented By Hershey at Ko Olina Golf Club on 15 April 2017 in Kapolei, Hawaii. Picture: AFP

WELLINGTON – South African caddie Gary Matthews has criticised women's world number one Lydia Ko after being fired by the New Zealander's camp after only nine events.

The ninth caddie in Ko's short playing career, Matthews parted ways with the 19-year-old after the Lotte Championship in Hawaii over the weekend where she finished joint runner-up behind winner Christie Kerr.

"I wish her the best, but she's gone through so many caddies, she needs to wake up on caddie-player relationships," Matthews, a former bag-man to U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, told Golf Digest.

"Otherwise she’ll just keep doing it."

Ko, who worked with seven caddies as an amateur and rookie on the professional tour, sacked her previous bag-man Jason Hamilton in October when in the midst of a form trough, ending a nearly two-year association that yielded 10 wins and two major trophies.

Although hired on a trial basis, Matthews said he was surprised and puzzled by his dismissal, having thought he had earned the role full-time earlier in the season.

"I was like, 'This is a bit strange; I didn't think I did that bad of a job.'," he said.

"In all honesty, there is no communication in the whole camp. You never know anything or are told anything.

"The agent called me on the Monday after Palm Springs and said, 'She needed a change, we're going with somebody else, but you can caddie in Hawaii.'

"I’m like, well, never in 19 years have I been fired and I'm still working for the person. What was so strange for me, we worked unbelievably well in Hawaii, the communication and everything was just phenomenal."

South Korea-born Ko, whose parents are a near-constant presence on tour, also parted ways with renowned swing coach David Leadbetter in December after a three-year association.

Leadbetter later told New Zealand media that it "wasn't easy coaching three people" and felt the golfer's parents were putting too much pressure on their daughter.

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