Lydia Ko doesn't bother herself with the Rolex Rankings, so neither will we. Right now Ko is just trying to win golf tournaments and given how Ko performed prior to the LOTTE Championship, Ko has every right to maintain a narrow focus. Ko certainly isn't playing her best golf, yet a tied-2nd in Hawaii did see her make major strides with her putter and if Ko is firing on the greens, the LPGA better watch out.
Ko finished the LOTTE Championship strongly after shooting 73 in the opening round, followed by rounds of 69, 65 and 64. Those last three rounds ended a streak of seven rounds in which Ko shot 70 or over and despite only five birdies in the first two rounds, Ko bounced back with 16 birdies in the last two rounds, with just one bogey in those last 36 holes.
The Rolex Rankings don't matter so much to Ko, however she'd note the jump in various other rankings that came with her return to form in Hawaii. When I highlighted Ko's struggles last week, Ko was languishing in foreign territory, well off the pace in all the major stats. All those birdies helped Ko jump from 33rd in birdies to 23rd, she's jumped from 31st in rounds under par to 28th and she's gone from 23rd in scoring average to 13th.
Those are minor jumps however compared to her putting and this shows just how much Ko has struggled with the putter this year. Ko was 87th in putting average and ranked 55th for putts per Greens in Regulation, now Ko is 32nd in putting average and 22nd in putts per GIR.
Strangely enough, Ko's best performance of 2017 so far was quickly followed that she is likely to part with her caddie. Ko's latest victim this time around is Gary Mathews, who was by her side for just nine tournaments since last November and this comes after Ko went through seven caddies in her first LPGA season.
Despite making all those changes that caused everyone to scratch their heads and appeared to have a detrimental effect on her game, Ko has shown that she's still a force and she's enjoying improvement or luck with her putter. Lingering around Ko is this 'caddie killer' narrative and just as everything appeared to have settled down, Ko's decision to look for a new caddie only reinforces that she's not quite where she wants to be.
Then again, there are two constants in Ko's LPGA career; success and a rotating caddie-cast so whatever it takes to keep that putter sizzling is all good.