Lydia Ko's new golf coach and swing instructor is Gary Gilchrist

Lydia Ko’s new golf coach and swing instructor is Gary Gilchrist

Lydia Ko has a new golf coach, and it's the same fella that's coaching her No. 1 rival. Ko's new coach is Gary Gilchrist, replacing David Leadbetter after Ko formally ended a three-year relationship with him at the end of the 2016 LPGA season.

Ko had been working with Gilchrist on an informal basis before announcing on Feb. 7 that the pair were officially golfer and coach.

"After CME [Group Tour Championship], I got a phone call and said when she comes back from Korea she'd love to come and spend some time with me," Gilchrist said Tuesday to Golf Channel.

Gilchrist, who is from South Africa, came to the United States and worked under David Leadbetter, running his junior academy for nearly a decade before breaking out on his own. Gilchrist now runs his teaching academy out of Mission Inn Resort & Club, just outside of Orlando.

Ko is joining a stable of Gilchrist students that is a who's who of LPGA starts, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 4 Shanshan Feng and Paula Creamer. Gilchrist has previously taught Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie, among others.

The Kiwi first hired Leadbetter with the hope of improving her driving distance while maintaining her accuracy. The pair worked on a modified version of Leadbetter's "A Swing." And while Ko won 19 times with Leadbetter, she struggled mightily in the second half of 2016, posting poor results as both her driving distance and accuracy dropped, placing enormous pressure on her world-class short game.

Leadbetter suggested Ko's parents were behind the trouncing and said publicly he believes Ko should take more control of her career.

Ko will make her 2017 debut at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

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