David Leadbetter says he won’t be looking to overhaul Lydia Ko’s swing in any way as her new coach, but he and Sean Hogan won’t be afraid to make some changes when needed.
In fact, they did last month when Ko, 16, came to visit Leadbetter and Hogan, a Leadbetter staff instructor, for three days at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla.
“We listened to her, and one area of concern she had was that under pressure, sometimes she would hit an odd hook, where she had the club face shut,” Leadbetter said.
Leadbetter said they worked on changes to address her concerns before she left for the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in Taiwan. She won the event, the fifth professional title of her career, her third this year.
“She seemed like she was very happy with the changes,” Leadbetter said.
Leadbetter said he believes Ko has no weaknesses.
“This isn’t about re-inventing her swing,” Leadbetter said. “It’s about guiding, keeping her on track.”
Ko’s move to Leadbetter created an emotional reaction back in New Zealand, where Ko dropped Guy Wilson, the only coach she had ever known. Leadbetter said his staff has been in contact via the Internet with Wilson.
“We were very open with him, and he with us,” Leadbetter said.
Leadbetter said he understands the sensitivities that come with Ko’s coaching switch. He expects hard scrutiny given the caliber of player he’s getting.
“If she plays well, it will be because she’s a great player,” Leadbetter said. “If she doesn’t, we will be the bad guys.”