Pine Needles: It started as a reporter’s question to Lydia Ko wondering why she had received treatment on her back and ended with the golfer being hailed for her honesty in addressing an issue that female athletes can often be reluctant to publicly discuss.


World number three Ko revealed in that recent post-round interview at a tournament in California that she had summoned her physio during the round because of back stiffness related to her monthly period.


“It’s that time of the month... When that happens, my back gets really tight and I’m all twisted. It’s not the first time,” she said on live television.


If the remarks left the surprised male interviewer flustered, Ko said the reaction from her peers has been overwhelmingly positive, even if some are surprised that she did not answer the question more vaguely as many might have.


“Some people may feel uncomfortable hearing about it, talking about it and it’s not something that’s been said often but it is the reality that pretty much all female athletes have to deal with,” Ko said on Tuesday ahead of this week’s US Women’s Open at Pine Needles.


“A lot of people have reached out to me, saying ‘I can’t believe you said that’. Some players are like, ‘‘Yeah that’s totally true. I feel like that every month.”


Ko’s comments came coincidentally on the same day that Chinese tennis player Zheng Qinwen also revealed that she had suffered with menstrual cramps while losing to Poland’s world number one Iga Swiatek at the French Open.


Korean-born New Zealander Ko until recently said she would not even talk about her period with her own physio and other members of her entourage, but at 25 she now has the maturity and confidence to be more open.

“When I was younger, even (with my male) physio I didn’t really feel comfortable talking about it, but now I’m like, ‘Oh it’s that time, my legs feel heavy so maybe we shouldn’t go too aggressive on our workouts’ or ‘my back’s tight because of that’.


“Even within my team I got more comfortable talking about it. It’s a lot more complex than just the menstrual cycle.”