No. Oh dear, the prob­lem lies within

Taranaki Daily News - - Sport - PHIL HAMIL­TON

What on earth are we to make of Ly­dia Ko and an­other coach­ing change? One well-re­garded golf blog­ger head­lined his story A New Year Means Ly­dia Ko’s Been Fir­ing Peo­ple.

‘‘One coach­ing change can be ex­cused as things sim­ply not mesh­ing but to change coaches once a year is out­right van­dal­ism of a golf swing.’’

Phil Hamil­ton

That’s right, the for­mer world golf No 1 is now a punch­line.

It’s hard to be­lieve that some­one who comes across as so sen­si­ble can be so flaky. One coach­ing change can be ex­cused as things sim­ply not mesh­ing but to change coaches once a year is out­right van­dal­ism of a golf swing.

Af­ter a while, like those peo­ple who can never quite find the right part­ner or job, she needs to take a good look in the mir­ror and re­alise that the prob­lem is not the coach but her.

As no less an author­ity than Sir Bob Charles told Stuff, a good golfer should be able to man­age their own game.

‘‘I’m from the old school, you fig­ure it out for your­self, you go with what you’ve got,’’ he said.

‘‘You’ve got to do it your way and not some­body else’s way.’’

None of this is to cast any as­per­sions on Ted Oh’s skills as a coach. He could be the best coach since Jack Grout, who fa­mously needed to see Jack Nick­laus only once a year to fine­tune his game.

But ev­ery coach wants to tweak things to their lik­ing. So grad­u­ally those tweaks can change a swing un­til it is un­recog­nis­able and the magic is gone.

Ko’s first mis­take was hitch­ing her­self to David Lead­bet­ter, a man who butchered her beau­ti­ful swing in pur­suit of a few ex­tra yards off the tee.

Leav­ing him (for Gary Gilchrist) was a good move but now she needs to find a de­cent coach and stick with him or her. A coach who isn’t try­ing to sell any­thing but who will make small changes to what is a fun­da­men­tally sound swing.

Butch Har­mon has had a fine coach­ing ca­reer by do­ing just that, los­ing his best-known client Tiger Woods by re­fus­ing to make changes he didn’t be­lieve were nec­es­sary.

It’s 18 months now since Ko has won a LPGA tour­na­ment but more wor­ry­ingly she only con­tended in the last of the 2017 ma­jors. While she pub­licly said she felt she was on the right track work­ing with Gilchrist, clearly that wasn’t the case. Now it’s Oh’s turn to try to re­dis­cover that magic and, if his­tory is any guide, he has a year to do it.

The coach has be­come a crutch for many mod­ern play­ers and, sadly, Ko seems to be among their num­ber.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

For­mer world No 1 Ly­dia Ko has started her golf­ing year in fa­mil­iar fash­ion by chang­ing her coach and cad­die.

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