Ko splits with coach, joins Leadbetter's stable


It's been quite an eventful couple of weeks for Lydia Ko as the teen phenom prepares to play her first full season as a professional.

Earlier this month, she won in her second start as a pro at the Swinging Skirts event in Taiwan. She also recently inked deals with IMG and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) and is reported by multiple New Zealand media outlets to be inking a new equipment deal with Callaway.

Now she has split from her longtime coach, Guy Wilson, and will be working with David Leadbetter, according to a tweet from Golf Channel's Damon Hack.

Ko's mother, Tina, told reporters at the LPGA's season-ending CME Group Titleholders last month that they were looking for a new American-based coach for Lydia to work with after she set up a U.S. base to play the LPGA next year. The fact that Ko has now chosen Leadbetter makes it likely she will set up that base in Florida. She stayed in Florida after the CME, scouting potential places, including Orlando. Pettersen is based in Orlando, Wie in Jupiter.

According to New Zealand national television broadcaster TVNZ, Wilson issued a statement confirming the split.

"It's been an honour to help develop Lydia into the number four golfer in the world.

"When I first met her the golf clubs were taller than she was and she didn't know the first thing about a driver or a putter but now she has one of the most envied swings in the women's golf world."

Ko, who has already won five professional events, will tee it up next at the LPGA season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas (Jan. 23-26).