Ko to Get New Coach


One of golf's most promising up-and-coming players has decided to hire a new instructor; newly-turned professional Lydia Ko will be getting a new swing coach. The 16-year-old has worked with Guy Wilson for the past 11 years. When hearing the news, Wilson said he was "incredibly disappointed" the partnership has ended.

"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," Wilson said in a statement.

Ko, who has not announced her new coach, worked with various teachers at the Leadbetter Academy in Florida before going to Taiwan for the Swinging Skirts tournament, which she won two weeks ago in only her second start as a professional. Michael Yim, her agent at IMG, said Ko plans to meet with other teachers before deciding on a full-time coach.

Ko has won five professional events - four as an amateur, including two straight Canadian Women's Opens. Wilson noted it had "been an honor to help develop Lydia into the No. 4 golfer in the world."

Ko told New Zealand media outlet TVNZ that Wilson had been a great coach and friend, but that she and her family decided it would be too difficult to continue the coaching relationship because she will now be based in the U.S. and Wilson lives in New Zealand.

"It doesn't really work; him being here and him coming on the weeks that I'm not playing a tournament means I'll only see him like 10 times a year, and to me that kind of situation didn't work out,'' Ko told TVNZ.

One observer, former PGA Tour player John Lister, said he was concerned about the change by Ko. "I'm sad to hear it because they can do most of the coaching over the phone, with all the videos and different stuff," Lister told The New Zealand Herald.

"If [Wilson] was to see her once every three or four months, it would be plenty. She doesn't need somebody every day. I'd be very reluctant to be changing anything with Lydia. She's done pretty damn well with what she's doing, and if it ain't broke don't go and fix it."

Another Kiwi professional, Michael Hendry, who works with Wilson at the Institute of Golf, also voiced his displeasure at the decision on Facebook. "Isn't it amazing how big business and big money can make people forget who really cares about them," Hendry wrote. "Still one of the most amazing pieces of coaching I have ever seen."

Yet another - and perhaps more famous - New Zealander, caddie Steve Williams, felt bad for Wilson, who trained Ko without much pay. "I think it's an astonishing decision," Williams told TVNZ. "He's just been dumped. There's no other word for it. That's a hell of a lot of time of your own personal time you put in and to have no compensation. Obviously, when you turn professional that's when you get compensated as a coach.''


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