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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

Hungover Eddie Pepperell is the real winner of The Open



Eddie Pepperell is never dull. The Englishman’s candor, articulateness, and skill with a pen make him a great follow on Twitter and beyond.

But even given standard Peperellian forthrightness, it was surprising to hear this: Pepperell was hungover during the final round at Carnoustie…a round in which he fired a 4-under 67.

Pepperell finished tied for sixth at 5-under, three strokes behind Francesco Molinari, and he offered this admission in his final-round press conference.

“I was a little hungover…I had too much to drink last night. And I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. But as it happens, I shot 67. So, you know, it’s a funny game.”

Hitting the course before the winds kicked up, Pepperell birdied the third, fifth, sixth, and 14th holes before rolling in another at the 17th.

He clarified that he’s no wino.

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before. Sometimes I have a few drinks. Tiger is minus-7, he didn’t have a drink last night, I bet. Proper athlete…I didn’t really have that much to drink, just I’m a lightweight, yeah.”

Pepperell clarified that he felt okay this morning, but woke up in the middle of the night feeling poorly. he said. Then it was time to sit back and watch as the leaders battled Carnoustie’s back nine.

Proper athlete or no, Pepperell finished tied with Woods at 5 under.

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19th Hole

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”



Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon



Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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19th Hole