Golf

Ko's new coach Gilchrist rips her swing apart

Women's world No. 1 Lydia Ko confirmed Gary Gilchrist as her new coach yesterday and said that the South African had already "ripped apart" her swing ahead of her season debut in Australia next week.

New Zealander Ko said she had been working with Gilchrist for about a month, having parted ways with British swing guru David Leadbetter last December after a three-year association.

Gilchrist is already working with two of her main rivals in Thai world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and Chinese world No. 4 Feng Shanshan, but Ko sees no problems with sharing the coach's expertise with her rivals.

"Just because we're at that position in our rankings doesn't mean (Jutanugarn) hates me and I hate her, the 19-year-old told local media in Auckland.

"She's one of the sweetest players on Tour. I don't think it's necessarily a rivalry thing, but it gives me confidence he's a great coach.

"When I talked to the other players who were with Gary, they told me he was very simple and wasn't very mechanical.

"That was the aspect I thought would be great.

"I tried a few lessons with him and we ripped the swing apart.

"I think that was really important and it's been good to see the changes we've made.

"I think if you looked at the swing, It might not look so different but, to me, it feels a little different.

"It kind of cleared up my mind and that's very important going forward."

Two-time Major champion Ko heads to next week's Australian Open in Adelaide after having also changed her caddie and clubs after a disappointing finish to her 2016 season, the first lean period of her stellar career.

She fired former caddie Jason Hamilton last October and hired South African Gary Matthews, former bag-man to Sergio Garcia.

She parted ways with Callaway after signing a multi-million dollar deal with equipment maker PXG.

Ko has not tasted victory since the Marathon Classic last July and finished outside the top 40 in three of her last six LPGA Tour starts.

"I don't think I've been very worried about the changes because it almost takes me back to three years ago when I was a rookie," she said.

"When you're a rookie coming on Tour, everything is new and exciting, so that's a similar mindset coming into this year, too." - REUTERS

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