Lydia Ko has fired her caddie, Jason Hamilton. She's reportedly ready to switch equipment from Callaway Golf to PXG. And, on Tuesday, she fired her golf instructor.
Ko told David Leadbetter on Tuesday night that, after 3 years and a dozen LPGA wins together, she needs a change and a new set of eyes to look at her golf swing.
Leadbetter made an announcement on Twitter, saying, in part, "Lydia is not only an exceptional player, but also an exceptional person. She is a perfect role model for any young golfer to follow on how to conduct oneself on the golf course, interact with the public, and give back to the game. Lydia has been an absolute pleasure to coach and she felt the staff at the Leadbetter Golf Academy Headquarters at Champions Gate has been like an extended family to her."
Ko and Leadbetter began working together in November 2013, after Ko parted ways with long-time instructor Guy Wilson of New Zealand and turned pro the month prior. Leadbetter instilled a version of his "A Swing," creating a steep takeaway that came back to the ball with a shallower downswing. And the swing worked, even for most of this season, with Ko winning four times in 2016, including a second major at the ANA Insipration in April.
However, after winning the Marathon Classic in July, Ko didn't post a top-five finish the rest of the season, ceding season-long awards to Ariya Jutanugarn, who won five times, and the scoring title to In-Gee Chun.
This season, Ko was about 4 yards shorter off the tee and found fewer fairways and greens in regulation, particularly compared to her high standards. The results, particularly off the tee, were the opposite of what Ko hoped for in switching to Leadbetter.
Leadbetter believes Ko's parents are behind the changes, and he implored Ko to take charge of her career.
“My parting words to Lydia were that I think she needs to take control of her life and her golf game,” Leadbetter said to Golf Channel. “She’s the No. 1 player in the world. She isn’t 15 anymore; she’s nearly 20. Her parents have done a great job bringing her up and getting her to a certain level, but she is old enough now to where she should be making her own decisions.”
So, Ko enters 2017 without a long-term solution for a golf teacher and a caddie, and she'll be playing new equipment.