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19th Hole

David Leadbetter defends work with Lydia Ko, slams her parents in post. Is he right?



On the heels of Kevin Van Valkenburg’s ESPN piece on Lydia Ko that features, well, not the best review of his work with his former pupil, David Leadbetter responded via his website.

Leadbetter’s rebuttal, titled, “The Grass Isn’t Always Greener,” points the finger at Ko’s parents for calling for an (in his mind) unjustified coaching switch. He also indicates fatigue in the latter portion of the 2016 season was chiefly to blame for Ko’s poor form, not his coaching.

“Her father, a non-accomplished golfer, heard rumors that she needed to change her swing and made suggestions to Lydia to change it – independently of her coaches. Sean Hogan traveled with her to the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship during the last part of the season and observed Lydia being very confused [with her swing].

“Amazingly enough, despite all of this, she had an excellent chance of remaining No. 1 in the world with a solid finish at the last tournament of the year. She shot 62 (10 under par) in the second round and things seemed to be on track. Her last round, unfortunately, was very average and she just lost out on winning the LPGA Player of the Year.”

Non-accomplished golfer! In a purge that has been widely questioned, Ko dropped Leadbetter, changed caddies, and signed on with PXG at the end of 2016. Arguably the game’s most prodigious talent, Ko hasn’t won since.

Beyond just revelling Ko’s poor performance since the split, Leadbetter defended the decisions he made to change his star pupil’s swing.

“What many people didn’t understand, was that the A Swing, which was a commercial name for a book we published, was for the most part technique that had worked in the early years with Sir Nick Faldo and Nick Price, amongst many others. It was adapted to Lydia in order to make her swing more efficient. If you looked at the statistics, especially greens in regulation, this proved to be true. It was a very simple approach, one she understood and had minimal maintenance….We honestly felt like this was the best approach for Lydia, because not being the strongest player, it provided natural energy to her swing.”

Leadbetter also said he thinks the decision to part ways came entirely from Ko’s parents/team, not her, before concluding with

“There’s no possible way that she can play better than she played for those first three years. It just goes to show, that not always is the grass greener on the other side of the hill!”

While Leadbetter is doubtless right, the grass has not been greener on the other side of the hill thus far, there’s something a tad tasteless in that remark, isn’t there?

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Was Leadbetter right to respond. And further, was he right to change Ko’s swing?


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  1. JH

    Apr 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm


    • george

      Apr 24, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      The swing Lydia had with Guy Wilson was not remotely like the “A” swing. A swing is a Frankenstein like invention, totally contrived.

  2. Robert Parsons

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Go back with Guy Wilson and try to recapture the swing of old. Or at least get comfortable with whatever swing is left. But stop trying so hard to play that A Swing BS.

    Drop the parents as part of the golf team.

    Have FUN on the course again. Now Lydia makes it look like actual work. When she turned pro, it looked as if there was an appreciation for being part of the tour and it was fun. Giggling and smiling the whole day. What happened to those rounds?

  3. John Agel

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    The A-Swing is every bit The hustle that the old Stack & Tilt is. They are both just marketing hack. While the A-Swing may not be without merit, of which The Stack & Tilt has none whatsoever, there is no technique of golf swing that every golfer can be forced fit into. When I was a golf instructor, I fell in line with the coaches who never sought to make any changes for the sake of making changes or to fit into my personal philosophy about golf mechanics. I always like to videotape the golf swing in order to study it and find what was going on in the student swing when that student hit particularly excellent shots. Even then after reviewing the tape and finding the moves which negated an excellent ball strike, I would avoid pointing out the negatives to the student but only point out the points of movement during an excellent ball strike. If there was a flaw in the swing which was difficult to repeat correctly, then a change in mechanics or fundamentals might be required. After all, what Still Remains to be the best definition of a good golf swing, is a golf swing which repeats. Especially under pressure. And the one which repeats best under pressure is the one which is most natural to the golfer. Harmon might be the best at this today. But this approach makes it hard to pitch a technique or a gimmick to give you a “tour-like” swing.

  4. Jack Nash

    Apr 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hmm DeadHeader mentioned Faldo and Price. Both great golfers and HoF’ers, but that’s many, many moons ago. Why wouldn’t he mention Chucky 3 Sticks? Also a pupil who’s done, er, ahem, well. Never heard Butch whine about golfers leaving his stable. Then again, unlike DeadHeader people still flock to Harmon.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      IMO, Harmon is as bad as DL.
      Tiger Woods won the 2000 US Open by 15 shots. Its been downhill for his swing, since with changes to his swing started by Harmon.
      Those changes not much different than A swing BS. Steepness in DS , locks up the hips and puts stress on the knee and spine.
      Another career IMO put on the skids by misinformed instruction.

  5. Ron

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Lydia was ill advised to make the changes she has made. Her golf swing WAS a fundamentally correct, simple, repeatable golf swing. She needs to get back to it and the clubs she was using.
    It’s a shame Ledbetter is using her to sell his swing. I guess it’s better to slam her parents than take the blame himself.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      its not that simple. Lydia went from external focus that resulted in a free wheeling golf swing, to intense, internal focus on body parts(DL, Harmon, GG, Malaska etc etc).

      Now, “dont think about body parts”, is like telling someone whatever you do, “dont think about a pink elephant”. the more we try to suppress that thinking, the more it will predominate, especially under pressure.
      (Ironic process theory). In other words, once youve been taken down that road, your …..d

  6. Someone

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:46 am

    He didn’t slam her parents. This article is click bait and an over exaggeration.

  7. BettiBoop

    Apr 22, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hard to argue when you see her results since then.


    Apr 21, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    This confirms a theory that I had, in that a lot of naturally gifted Pro’s simply don’t know why they play so well.
    hey can just hit the ball very well and progress through the ranks, and if they are lucky nothing much changes and they have a great career, totally oblivious to the technical aspects of their swing.
    But in this case, some other move sneaks in and the Player is completely at a l;oss as to how they can fix it and then they go and start changing their swing and, in some cases, they lose it completely.
    I hope this doesn’t happen to Lydia, but it has happened to other great ‘natural’ golfers, such as Ian Woosnam, who started to lose form and never got back to where he once was.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Gifted athletes simply know instinctively what to do to produce the result they intend for the ball. of course they dont know details of how they do it because ALL complex chain action movement by humans is subconscious.

      David Eaglemann “The conscious you, which is the part that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning, is the smallest bit of what’s happening in your head.

      “It’s like a broom closet in the mansion of the brain.”

  9. Gorden

    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    No matter what level golfer you are getting better is always a tough road. Consistency in performance is unbelievably hard be it tournament to tournament or even shot to shot. For Pros having someone they trust watch their performance and keep them doing the same moves/positions is a must to remain what ever level they are on….any change in coaching means new eyes with different views and no history to what to look for…new ideas for both player and coach sometimes it works, most of the time it ends up a step backwards.

  10. Ryan

    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    A-swing is a scam.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Lydia was used to sell A swing and it ruined her Natural swing
      developed since 5 years old by Guy Wilson New Zealand.

      Arguably Lydia was the hottest golfer on the planet when she became pro, under Wilson. A pure pivot driven swing, much like Hogan, Nicklaus. Joining Leadbetter has to be blamed on her parents.

      Lead was presented with a promotional marketing gift just as A Swing was about to be introduced. Lydia will never get her Original swing back, thanks to Lead and her parents. To bad, we will never see her talent blossom. C’est dommage.

      PS lesson learned:dont mess with an ingrained golf swing.

      • george

        Apr 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

        A swing is another Scam! worth repeating.

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19th Hole

Ricky Barnes DQd at the Byron Nelson



Ricky Barnes took a trip to Dairy Queen at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Barnes was disqualified following his second round 1-over 72. He signed for a three at the par-4 sixth hole, when in fact he had made a par.

Ultimately, he won’t rue his impromptu trip to get a Blizzard: Barnes was 3 over and was in no danger of making the cut.

Because this is the world we live in, Barnes apparently found out about the DQ via LuckyTrout Golf Pool on Twitter.

Of course, no scorecard error will ever top “What a stupid I am,” Roberto De Vicenzo signing for 66 when he shot 65, handing the green jacket to Bob Goalby at the 1968 Masters. Such an unfortunate legacy for a man who won hundreds of tournaments around the world.

Also unfortunate: Ricky Barnes is on the way for being remembered as a man who never lived up to the promise he showed at that same tournament, The Masters, as an amateur.

Let’s hope that changes.

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19th Hole

WATCH/LOOK AWAY: Jordan Spieth misses a 15-inch putt



Aren’t you glad there isn’t video of all the 15-inch putts you’ve missed? I certainly am.

Unfortunately for Jordan Spieth, his failed attempt from little more than a foot at the Byron Nelson was captured on video, and it will exist on the internet for all eternity.

Spieth, who has struggled with the flatstick lately, stood over a short par putt at the par-4 15th hole, and well…

Spieth is currently 183rd on the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: putting, losing .412 strokes per round to the field on the greens.

But at least he hit the hole, right?

Here’s the offending weapon: Spieth’s trusty Scotty Cameron 009.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX members debate: What should the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria be?



There have been a couple of controversial inclusions on the World Golf Hall of Fame. This isn’t to rehash, say, Fred Couples earning a spot, but rather, take a look at entry criteria.

More specifically, GolfWRX member playar32 writes

“I know the actual criteria is 15 tour wins, or 2 majors/Players championship. But what’s YOUR minimum?…For example, if a player won a “B” tournament every year (the one opposite a WGC event), every year in a row for 15 years, but missed the cut in every other event, would you still considered them HOF?”

It’s an interesting point. Specifically, the World Golf Hall of Fame criteria for an active male golfer is as follows.

“A player must have a cumulative total of 15 or more official victories on any of the original members of the International Federation of PGA Tours (PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and PGA of Australasia) OR at least two victories among the following events: The Masters, THE PLAYERS Championship, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship.”

Further, a player must be at least 50 or five years removed from competition.

Here are some other WRX members’ takes.

Bladehunter says

“15 tour wins and 2 majors for me. Otherwise almost every 1 major winner out there is in.”

McCann1 says

“If we won’t remember your name without the HOF in 50 years I think you shouldn’t be in.”

Fowlerscousin says

“If any of these three criteria are met: 3 or more majors. Minimum 5 Ryder cup appearances. 15 tour victories.”

Hawkeye77 says

“Whatever the criteria are, don’t ever think about it unless someone whose speech I want to hear gets in.’

Golfer929 has more stringent standards

“20 Wins. 3 Majors. 2 Ryder Cup/President Cup appearances. 100 total weeks inside Top 50 OWGR.”

Golfgirlrobin says

“I’d like to see them go to some sort of point system like the LPGA uses. Factor in everything that’s important and let the chips fall where they may.”

You’ll want to check out the rest of what GolfWRX members have to say in the thread.

There are a ton off questions to consider when thinking about which current/recent players should make the HoF.

A few…

1. Should the standards be on par with other sports? If so, what does that look like?
2. If the WGHOF should be more/less stringent, why?
3. How important are major victories? Why two and not three?
4. Why 15 wins and not 10? Or 20?

All important questions, and ones which the golf fans of the world should be able to weigh in on, rather than merely a selection committee of 16 people.

Let us know what you think, GolfWRX members!

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19th Hole