Lydia Ko: ‘I have to turn up every day and play my best’

• Young New Zealander praises the ‘integrity’ of her rivals • Lydia Ko won World Cup last year in Japan

The world No1, Lydia Ko, has praised the players who “turn up every day” and says her peers can learn from each other. The 17-year-old Ko won the World Cup last year in Japan and is one of few young competitors who has won majors and shown the ambition to conquer a course.

Ko won her second major this year in July with an 18-under-par finish at the ANA Inspiration and is hoping that success will continue when the LPGA Tour begins her campaign for a hat-trick of victories at the ANA Inspiration in February.

“It’s a really talented bunch, so it can be hard out there,” Ko said. “But it’s not that hard to win tournaments, you just have to be consistent. If I want to be in that next position, I need to keep doing what I’m doing and to turn up every day and play my best.

The 17-year-old Lydia Ko successfully defended her title at the Women’s British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

“It’s great to compete against the best players in the world and to see the kind of talent that they have. Sometimes results are so overrated. Last year, I won the World Cup and there was one week when there was only two players that finished under par. Last year I finished second in the Australian Open, but there were four players under par, so sometimes you can have a bad week and have great results.”

Ko added: “It’s an exciting time for the LPGA Tour right now with the players that we have coming up. Each week I always look forward to seeing the results and seeing if the top players are performing.”

Ko, who finished third in the Ladies European Tour money list last year, has been in the headlines this year after her family left New Zealand to live with her for several months while she represented her new team in Malaysia and Singapore. The family returned home this summer but Ko refuses to say what brought them to the Cayman Islands in the first place.

“I don’t think it’s too much for me to say right now,” Ko said. “I love my family and I love Malaysia and Singapore. Hopefully they’ll come back whenever they want to.”

Meanwhile, the LPGA Tour announced Tuesday that Pat Hurst has retired from competition. She won the 1998 Evian Masters and is the LPGA’s career victory leader with 20 victories. She won the Women’s British Open in 2006 and 2009 at Royal Liverpool.

Hurst earned her sixth consecutive top-five finish last year in her first tournament as a sponsor’s exemption, helping her to a tie for third place at the World Cup. She would finish the next three tournaments in the top 10. Hurst missed last season with a back injury.

“It was a long, hard decision, but I felt like it was the right one,” Hurst said. “I needed to concentrate on my family and to see what the future held.

“My family is right here and I’ll always be close with them. The opportunities are here.”

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