Having Mastered Golf, Lydia Ko Has Another Career in Mind: Shrink

Wednesday March 4th, 2015
Lydia Ko has already collected 10 victories as a professional.
Michael Dodge / Getty Images

Only 17, top-ranked Lydia Ko said recently she is planning to retire from golf at age 30 to become a psychologist. We traveled into the future for an exclusive look at Ko’s notes from her first year in her new gig.

Feb. 28, 2028

Exciting times! Furniture and wall-to-wall fake zoysia installed. Soothing sky-blue ceiling paint finally dry. Ko Dependent Therapy ready for business! Tiny space. Only one room to display 26 major trophies. Ponte Vedra rent is even worse than Wellington’s. But Leadbetter assures me it’s a great location. This is where all the crazies live!

March 1, 2028

8 a.m. Arrive to find first patient, Mr. Furyk, in foyer. Seems grumpy. Says he’s been waiting 13 years to see me. Resist urge to point out that it took him twice that long to line up putts. Oh, snap! Session consumed by talk of missed opportunities, male-pattern baldness and sublimated resentment at father for teaching him that swing. In waning moments, otherwise high-functioning patient appears to lose self-confidence and focus. Mr. Furyk? Mr. Furyk!?! Prescription: 5-Hour Energy Drink. Love this job. So great to be able to make a difference!

10 a.m. Cheerful consultation with happily naturalized U.S. citizen Colin Montgomerie leaves me wondering why he might require my services at all. Inkling comes, however, when I catch him admiring my trophy case. “I have a few of those myself,” he says. I let comment hang (oldest shrink trick in the book!), until he fills the silence. “I mean, um, you know, from the Champions tour.“

1 p.m. Not trained as couples’ therapist, but DJ and Paulina are too cute to turn down. Referred by their “life coach,” who recommends visit as “emotional tune-up” and “spousal check-in.” Whatevs. They’re paying. All seems well between them, though DJ’s reference to “effing rabbit food” suggests he may be growing weary of all-kale-and-quinoa diet. Tantric practices a marital plus, but her latent Daddy issues? Not...going...there.

6 p.m. Leaving for the day when Ben Crane shows up for 5 o'clock appointment. Said he had morning tee time and had just wrapped up his round. Still owes for the full hour. Advised as such, patient grows confrontational in milquetoast rapper voice. Totally schizo! Sorry, Bubble Boy. This isn’t about me!

Sept. 23, 2028

Noon. Leadbetter was right. Busy, busy! 10 a.m intake with John Daly spills over to consume entire morning, and that only takes us up through puberty in trailer park. Luckily, Tim Finchem, who’s booked at 11 a.m., forfeits his time. Says he isn’t up for talking anyway.

3 p.m. Continuing sessions with Sergio Garcia are at once fruitful and frustrating. One step forward, two steps back in lingering struggle with self-doubt. Idea for laboratory experiment: Fuse him with Patrick Reed in attempt to create a balanced human being.

4 p.m. Johnny Miller drops by without appointment. Just wants to reminisce about his 63 at Oakmont.

Oct. 15, 2028

1 p.m. Lunch break spent on phone with agitated Phil Mickelson, upset that insurance has declined to cover treatment. “All the taxes I pay, and this isn’t part of my health-care plan?” Gently suggest that next time he vote for Chelsea Clinton.

5 p.m. Miguel Angel Jimenez drops by without appointment. Mistook office for cigar bar.

Nov. 1, 2028

11 a.m-2 p.m. Back-to-back-to-backs with Sabbatini, Baker-Finch and Bubba. Concerned that diagnoses (anger-management, performance anxiety, and Peter Pan syndrome, respectively) may be far easier than the cures.

4 p.m. Gary McCord drops by without appointment. Just wants to talk to anyone about anything.

5 p.m. Bernhard Langer scheduled for a a;sdlkfjas;dlfkj ... sorry. Nodded off just thinking about it.

Nov. 29, 2028

9 a.m. Where to begin? Feel like I already know him from the literature, but still surreal to meet him in the flesh. (Note to self: Add “Cablinasian” option to intake form.) First impressions confirm widely publicized textbook assessments: Patient presents as confident but wary, driven by internal conflict over own identity, and not just because he checked the “other” box on form. Who else refers to himself by two different nicknames? Calling Dr. Freud! Expect that gaining trust will be a challenge but signs of early progress when I promise not to ask for dental records. Patient’s self-delusion is another matter. Complains that couch prevents his glutes from firing. Blames recent traffic accident on modification in swing pattern. Stuck on 14 majors for two decades but says he just needs more reps. How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One. But the lightbulb has to really want to change.

Recommendation: Go back to Butch.

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