Ko's former coach Leadbetter says she should take a break from the game after slipping down the rankings


David Leadbetter Slams Lydia Ko’s Parents – “Unbelievable Ignorance”

David Leadbetter says his former student Lydia Ko should take a break from the game and has slammed her parents for “unbelievable ignorance” in an interview with New Zealand’s Radio Sport.

Ko finished second-last at the Women’s British Open after a 76 and 80 to finish at 12 over and miss the cut by 11 strokes.

That came a week after missing the cut by seven strokes at the Evian Championship.

Ko has won 20 times as a professional with two Majors but has fallen to 24th in the world having spent 84 weeks as World Number One.

She was also the youngest ever World No.1 and became the youngest ever winner of a professional event, at the time, after victory at the NSW Open aged 14.

She then won on the LPGA Tour at the age of 15, still as an amateur, and captured her first Major at the 2015 Evian Championship aged 18.

Since then, though, it has been a struggle for Ko after changing equipment as well as wholesale team changes including numerous different caddies and coaches.

She worked with David Leadbetter during her peak years but they split in late 2016.

“It really is a very sad situation to observe,” her former coach Leadbetter told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.

“Her team have to be thinking that they have made some huge mistakes taking an unbelievably talented player and turning her into ordinary.

“I hope she gets it back but restoring confidence is never the easiest thing to do. Her parents have a lot to answer for – a case of unbelievable ignorance.

“I’m angry, I’m sad because to me I know what she’s capable of doing. And to see her play like this, it’s just very sad to see.

“I think her parents need to sort of let her go and do her thing. She’s 21-22 years of age now. She could control her own career. She should know what’s best for her.

“She’s not a 12-year-old anymore. So they need to let her go, let her fly, let her leave the nest so to speak and find her own way. If she can do that, I mean yeah we could see Lydia back.

“My advice would be look to take a break right now. She doesn’t need to play for the rest of the year. Just get her head together, relax, get away from the game and rethink this whole thing. There’s probably a lot of factors going on here.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take a complete break from the game, get your mind rested, get your body rested and then [come back] and play next year.”

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