World No.1 Lydia Ko Splits With Caddie

Despite a stellar 2022, the 25-year-old Kiwi will have a new caddie on the bag to start the year

Lydia Ko and her caddie in discussion
Lydia Ko will no longer have Derek Kistler on the bag
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World No.1 Lydia Ko is set to kick off the 2023 season with a new caddie after splitting with Derek Kistler.

The 25-year-old Kiwi enjoyed a stellar 2022 in winning three LPGA tour events and capped off the year with a superb two-stroke victory over Ireland’s Leona Maguire to win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home the $2 million first prize.

Ko also regained her spot as World No.1 in November, overtaking America’s Nelly Korda, and won the Rolex Player of the Year award and Vare Trophy for low scoring average.

Despite this, Ko’s sister and manager Sura confirmed to Golfweek that she will instead have David Jones on the bag when she starts her season at the $5m Aramco Saudi Ladies International.

Lydia Ko and her caddie in discussion at the 2020 Women's Open

Dave Jones with Lydia Ko during the 2020 AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ko and Jones have worked together previously and won the 2021 Lotte Championship together, where Ko shot 28-under-par to win by seven strokes and take home her first title in almost three years.

The Irishman, Jones, most recently caddied with Canadian Nick Taylor on the PGA Tour. He has also worked extensively on the LPGA Tour and has been a caddie in three Major triumphs, firstly with In Gee Chun at the 2016 Evian Championship, then with Sung Hyun Park when the South Korean won the 2017 US Women’s Open and the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

While the move may come as shock, Ko has a proven track record of chopping and changing caddies fairly regularly unlike many tour professionals

In her rookie season on the LPGA tour in 2014, the then-18-year-old had eight different caddies on her way to winning the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award.

Ko and Jones’ first event, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, is part of the Ladies European Tour and starts on February 16. 

The World No.1 won the event in 2021, with this year’s tournament seeing a five-fold increase in the prize fund to match the $5 million of the men’s Saudi International, played last week and won by LIV Golf's Abraham Ancer.

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.