Golf: Teen wonder Lydia Ko plans to retire at 30

Lydia Ko of New Zealand watches her tee shot on the 11th hole at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers - Final Round at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club on Jan 31, 2015, in Ocala, Florida. -- PHOTO: AFP
Lydia Ko of New Zealand watches her tee shot on the 11th hole at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers - Final Round at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club on Jan 31, 2015, in Ocala, Florida. -- PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Teenage world number one Lydia Ko revealed on Wednesday she plans to retire at 30 and is about to start a psychology degree to prepare for life after golf.

The 17-year-old New Zealander, who smashed Tiger Woods's record of reaching the top ranking when he was 21, said she wanted a second career later in life.

"I say my plan is to retire when I'm 30 so I'm not just going to go to the beach and hang out for the rest of my life," Ko told reporters ahead of the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne starting on Thursday.

"There's always a second career that comes along with it and I'm trying to build up towards it and, because I'm playing a sport, psychology links well with it.

"You just never know what's going to happen." South Korean-born Ko, who won her first professional event at the record age of just 14, will begin an online psychology degree via a university in Seoul next month.

She credited her mother Tina, who travels with her, for insisting she had a good education off the golf course.

"My mum will get me off my iPad and phone and tell me to work hard and look at the text books," she said, adding that having fun was her main focus, not money.

"When you have fun, everything kind of goes by fast, and going fast is not a bad thing when you're playing 25 or 26 tournaments," she said.

"When I'm having fun that's when I play the best so money isn't the most important thing." Ko will start as favourite this week at the LPGA event with China's Feng Shanshan, South Korea's Ryu So Yeon and five-time Australian Open winner Karrie Webb seen as her main threats.

She will be working with a new caddie, Jason Hamilton, who is a local, after chewing through eight bagmen in 2014, her first season as a professional on the LPGA.

"I like Jason how he makes some dumb jokes, I guess sarcastic sentences," she said.

"In a way bad jokes is my criteria."