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Ko splits with swing coach Leadbetter

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Women's golf No.1 Lydia Ko is parting ways with her English swing coach of three years David Leadbetter.

New Zealand 19-year-old Ko struggled for her best form over the second half of 2016, ditching her caddie and tweaking her swing in pursuit of improvement.

A highly-regarded coach of leading players, Leadbetter announced Ko is moving on in a statement on his website, wishing her well.

"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," Leadbetter said.

"This turnover is all part of the coaching business."

Leadbetter, who shot to prominence after rebuilding Nick Faldo's swing that saw him win six majors, described working with Ko as a "privilege".

She left her New Zealand-based coach Guy Wilson following a successful amateur career, joining the Leadbetter Golf Academy when switching to the professional ranks in late 2013.

She has won 12 LPGA titles and amassed nearly $US7.5 million ($NZ10.4 million) in prize money.

"Our goal from our very first coaching session with Lydia was to create a vision and blueprint for this extraordinary talent designed around improving her full swing shot-making abilities, power, and short game performance.

"Lydia's tournament results and statistics in each of the last three seasons clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of our plan."

Ko won the last of her four titles this year in mid-July.

Her results dropped off noticeably after claiming a silver medal at the Rio Olympics a month later.

Ko's plans for 2017 are unclear but Leadbetter predicted she would be successful but hinted at the need for her workload to be carefully managed.

"If she is able to withstand the many outside pressures associated with being number one 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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