Lydia Ko Switches Coaches, Joins David Leadbetter Stable

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIDecember 23, 2013

Lydia Ko won the Swinging Skirts Ladies Masters.
Lydia Ko won the Swinging Skirts Ladies Masters.Gareth Gay/Getty Images

In an interview with One News, Lydia Ko announced that she is splitting up with the only coach the 16-year-old has ever had, fellow Kiwi Guy Wilson.

With Ko becoming a professional and constantly traveling around the world, it became impossible for Wilson to continue as her coach.

Wilson has worked with Ko since the clubs were taller than she was and she didn’t know a driver from a putter. He helped her become the No. 1 ranked women’s amateur for over three years.

While an amateur, she never missed a cut in 25 starts in professional tournaments. Ko also won four professional golf tournaments while still an amateur, including consecutive CN Canadian Women’s Open titles in 2012 and 2013 on the LPGA Tour.

Ko won in her second start as a professional at the Swinging Skirts Ladies Masters in Taiwan earlier this month.

In a statement (per One News), Wilson said, "It's been an honour to help develop Lydia into the number four golfer in the world."

Ko will work with Sean Hogan, a staff member of the David Leadbetter Academy.

Ko said in the interview, “It is obviously sad to stop with Guy, because he has been such a great coach and great friend, as well.”

Ko requested and was granted an exemption to join the LPGA Tour in October 2013 and will play the LPGA Tour full time next season.

Due to her hectic travel schedule, she and Wilson would have been able to meet only sporadically during the golf season.

Ko added, "I'm going to be away from home and I'm not a player that likes to (not) have my coach out at tournaments, so it doesn't really work, him being here and him coming on the weeks that I'm not playing a tournament."

Leadbetter has worked with several leading golf professionals in the past, most notably Nick Price, Nick Faldo and Michelle Wie.