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Lydia Ko splits with her coach, David Leadbetter after switching from Callaway to PXG

Sameer Bahl
FEATURED WRITER
News
08 Dec 2016, 19:18 IST
Lydia Ko and David Leadbetter shared a massively successful partnership

In what comes as a huge surprise, Lydia Ko of New Zealand today split with her Instructor of three years, David Leadbetter. Leadbetter confirmed on Wednesday that the two are no longer working together while Ko offered no comments. 

“These things happen in the world of coaching, whether it’s Jurgen Klinsmann with the U.S National Soccer Team or Novak Djokovic, who just separated from his coach, Boris Becker this week,” Leadbetter said in a statement. “This turnover is all part of the coaching business.”

The two have enjoyed a highly fruitful partnership after the New Zealander turned to David Leadbetter when she shifted her base from New Zealand to the United States. Previously, she had worked with Guy Wilson since taking up golf as a five-year old. 

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“We wish Lydia the very best for the future and know that, going forward, if she is able to withstand the many outside pressures associated with being the No. 1 in the world and, if her team keep their expectations realistic, then she can go on to achieve bigger and better things,” Leadbetter said.

Ko also made a late-season caddie change, firing Jason Hamilton who quickly ended up with rival player, Ha Na Jang. The partnership had yielded in 10 titles and 2 majors. The world No. 1 won 4 titles this season and has accumulated 14 victories in just three years of being a professional golfer.

The golfer who has just missed one cut in her entire career has won the “LPGA Player of the year” award twice in three years and finished second this year. She won the “Rookie of the season” award in 2014 and also has two major victories to her name. 

Apparel and equipment switch from Callaway to PXG

Earlier in November, Lydia Ko made an equipment and apparel change leaving Callaway for Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) which comes into effect from 2017. She is expected to garner a better financial deal from the switch after she quit Callaway, who she has been with since the beginning of her professional career in 2014. She used Callaway clubs and an Odyssey putter in 2016 enroute to her various wins.

Although she won 4 times, 2016 has been her least successful season after she failed to claim any major championships or the “Player of the season” award for the first time in a season and also turned in five finishes outside the top 10. 

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The 19-year old has endured a difficult spell since her silver medal at the Rio Olympics with five finishes outside the top 10 in a row before the CME Group Tour Championship.

A season like Ko’s 2016 season would be a great season for any other golfer but has forced Ko into making wholesale changes in her equipment and team for the 2017 season.

With the change in equipment and apparel, the 19 year-old Ko would join a PXG line-up that includes four other LPGA professionals in Gerina Piller, Cristie Kerr, Alison Lee and Beatriz Recari.

It remains to be seen if Ko will be able to replicate her success with PXG clubs
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