No. Oh dear, the problem lies within
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.’’
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.
Former world No 1 Lydia Ko has started her golfing year in familiar fashion by changing her coach and caddie.