Ironic that celebrated swing coach David Leadbetter said this week that too many changes was the cause of Lydia Ko's fall in form.
He should know. He engineered one of them.
To be fair to Leadbetter, his re-structuring of Ko's swing to get more distance – is it really that necessary? – worked for quite some time as she strung together impressive results: World No 1 for 85 weeks in a row, two majors and 14 LPGA tournament wins.
So he has a platform of some stability from which to point out that, since then, Ko has won only a third of her earnings from the 2014-2016 period when Leadbetter was in charge of her swing.
Thing is, it didn't last. Her ball-striking fell away in 2016. She decided to ditch Leadbetter and go to new coach Gary Gilchrist (replaced by the latest sacked coach, Ted Oh); Gilchrist came on board to re-engineer her swing closer to the one she started her career with, honed by her original coach, Guy Wilson.
At that time, she also changed clubs, from Callaway to PXG, with the new clubs producing a higher ball flight. She fired her new caddie, meaning she'd run through three in a year. In six years, she's had 11 in total.
So Leadbetter is undeniably right – too many changes. But he was also part of that.
Certainly she hasn't righted matters. In 2017, Ko was ranked 128th on the LPGA tour for driving distance. In 2019, she is in exactly the same spot – 128th (though she has been as high as 60).
Power isn't the be-all and end-all, as all golfers know. But when Ko first came on the scene, only one opponent was hitting it past 270 yards off the tee. Now many fly it miles further than her. Even Ko's legendary unflappability must be a bit messed up by that.
In 2017, Ko ranked 44th in the world on a more important statistic: driving accuracy, in which she performed strongly when she first lit up the golfing world. Today: 90th.
As Leadbetter pointed out, her greens-in-regulation stats (getting the ball on the green with a chance of a birdie) have suffered. In 2015, she was second on the LPGA tour; in 2016 - 31st; in 2017- 48th and so far in 2019, 52nd.
That is a consistent decline; you can be 90th in driving accuracy but still have the talent to get the ball to the green even from tee shots that don't find the fairway. But Ko's radar has been fuzzy for a while now; golf, the ultimate head game, may be messing with that head.
She has gone from No 1 in the world in 2016 to No 7 in 2017 and No 17 today, hardly a disaster but a worrying path. She still has some good stats – she is 10th in the world at putting, a vital skill, and 14th in top 10s so far this year. So there is still hope, even if she had a poor first round this week in her first tournament since waving bye-bye to Oh.
Perhaps the best analysis of swing changes comes from Brandel Chamblee, a former US PGA journeyman who won just one PGA tournament and is now a commentator on the Golf Channel.
He told the story of how the great Tom Watson (8 majors, 39 PGA tournament wins) successfully tweaked his swing to rid himself of problems that had plagued him for years.
"Change, of course, doesn't always come so easily, or with such handsome rewards," he wrote in Golf.com. "I have made literally thousands of swing revisions, grand and small, which arguably proved to be my undoing. I was always searching, tinkering, never able to escape the vortex of creation. That's the trouble with change: It can make you a world-beater like Watson, or just as easily make you forget how you ever played the game.
"…Change is like a drug that can produce wonderful, soaring highs, but also lonely, miserable lows. It's intoxicating and irresistible, because within every golfer lies an insatiable appetite for improvement and, consequently, a deep-seated desire to try something different, to find a new fix.
"…when players' games sour, the deterioration happens not instantly but slowly and painfully. Ralph Guldahl won the US Open in 1937 and '38 and the Masters in 1939. By 1941, he had retired from the Tour. Guldahl, it is said, analysed away the magic while deconstructing his swing for an instruction book."
He told the tale of a friend, a doctor and good golfer, who pestered him for tips on how to get better. Chamblee sent him to the best swing coach he knew. The coach watched the friend hit 10 shots, then said: "You can beat 99 per cent of the doctors in this world and that's as good as you need to be." Lesson over.
The friend was furious. He had driven 80 miles to be blown off, he felt. In fact, said Chamblee, one of the greatest teaching techniques had been employed: knowing when to leave well enough alone.
Will Ko regain former glories, a la Tiger Woods? Possibly – but the signs are not promising.