Lydia Ko will join up with caddie Gary Matthews for her final two tournaments of 2016 (Photo: Getty Images)
Lydia Ko has responded to Tiger Woods' former caddie Steve Williams' latest remarks that the ladies world number one has "hit the panic button early" after axing her bagman of two years Jason Hamilton.
Ko, who decided to part ways with Hamilton earlier this month following a successful two-year partnership on the LPGA Tour, will now use the services of Gary Matthews - former caddie to the likes of Sergio Garcia - for her final two events of the season at the Toto Japan Classic and CME Group Tour Championship.
The 19-year-old New Zealander, who is teeing it up at this week's Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament with a local caddie, will then decide during her off-season as to which caddie will be on her bag on a full-time basis in 2017.
Williams, however, was recently quoted in the New Zealand media as saying: "This is the first form slump of any kind she’s had as a professional – and it’s only a slight form dip – and it doesn’t seem like a reason to release her caddie. Maybe they’ve hit the panic button a bit early."
Caddie Steve Williams has spoken out at Ko's axing of Hamilton (Photo: Getty Images)
In response to her compatriot's comments, Ko said: "It's his opinion, and it's what he thinks. So what somebody else thinks is really out of my hands, so I guess I have to respect that."
According to Hamilton, who helped Ko land 10 LPGA Tour titles and two majors, his former employer told him that she "needed a different set of eyes with her."
Ko added: "I really think that some people might think I might have ended on bad terms with my former caddie, Jason, but no, I really enjoyed working with him.
"It's been a lot of fun. But, you know, I think sometimes change is a good thing, and he's working with another great player [Ha Na Jang]. So all the best to that team, too."
Ko carded an opening round of level-par in Malaysia today to sit tied 30th and eight shots off the pace.
What does the future hold for Lydia Ko? Will she maintain her stranglehold on the ladies game, or will others quickly topple her from the top of world order? Share your thoughts in the forum and join us on social media.