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Ko needs to take control, ex-coach says

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016

Lydia Ko's former swing coach David Leadbetter says the world No.1 needs to take control of her life if she wants to get back to her best.

Leadbetter confirmed on Wednesday that he was no longer working with Ko, although the 19-year-old hasn't commented on the decision.

Leadbetter said on Thursday that he believed the decision had been driven by Ko's "close-knit family team".

The world No.1 has spent the last three years with Leadbetter after shifting her base from New Zealand to the United States.

Before that, she had worked with Guy Wilson since taking up golf as a five-year-old.

Leadbetter said Ko's family's influence had included her father offering advice on swing technique.

"Her parents are lovely people but I think they're a little bit naive. Lydia's not a machine - she can't play well week-in and week-out," Leadbetter told Radio Sport.

"She's not going to win every week."

Ko also made a late-season caddie change, firing Jason Hamilton with three weeks of the season remaining, a decision Leadbetter described as "crazy".

"I don't know whose decision that was, her's or her parent's, but it seems nuts ... it just seems completely illogical."

Leadbetter said his advice to Ko would be to take control of her life and her golf game: "You're the player, you need to make these decisions."

Ko won four LPGA Tour titles this season and has 14 career victories, but her season tailed off after she won silver at the Rio Olympics in August.

Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn pipped her in the race for the LPGA's major awards of the season, winning the season points title, the player of the year award and a spot at the top of the LPGA's money list.

Leadbetter made his announcement in a statement earlier on Thursday.

"These things happen in the world of coaching, whether it's Jurgen Klinsmann with the US national soccer team or Novak Djokovic, who just separated from his coach Boris Becker this week," he said.

"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 No. 1 in the world and if her team keep their expectations realistic, then she can go on to even bigger and better things."

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