Former professional golfer John Lister aptly summed up the conundrum posed by Lydia Ko's decision to break with Auckland coach Guy Wilson, who had overseen her rise from a 5-year-old to a golfing phenomenon. The break, he said, was inevitable. But why, he added, do it when nothing in her game obviously needed fixing? The latter view was shared by many who thought it boded ill for her career and was evidence that she was succumbing to the will of management group IMG, with whom she had just signed a big-money contract.
Wilson had every right to feel "incredibly disappointed". He had achieved amazing things with Ko. But the break was, indeed, probably inevitable because of what Ko believes she needs to perform at her best. As she explained, she wanted a coach at tournaments. Therefore, she had approached American-based David Leadbetter who, with his head of staff, Sean Hogan, has been associated with names such as Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo and Michelle Wie.
Reassurance for Ko would have come from the three days spent with the pair before she won her first professional tournament in Taiwan. Reassurance for her fans should have come from Leadbetter's statement that he did not envisage drastic changes. His job, he said, was "about guiding her, keeping her on track".
Both Leadbetter and IMG have the task of taking Ko to the top of women's golf. They know that, in a cut-throat world, there will also be an inevitable outcome if they fail.