Home' Australian Golf Digest : July 2017 Contents 52 australiangolfdigest.com.au | july 2017
Form slump the source of scrutiny
The downside of being in the spotlight
is that every little decision Ko makes is
amplified – whether it involves coaches,
caddies or equipment manufacturers.
What has brought scrutiny upon Ko is the
diminishing number of good results by an
incumbent No.1-ranked player.
Ko won five LPGA Tour events in 2015
and four more in 2016 to establish a
commanding lead at the top of the world
ranking. But it’s been a relatively lean
period since her fourth victory last season
at the Marathon Classic in July 2016. Apart
from a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, she
recorded only a couple of top-five finishes in
her next 19 LPGA events.
Through the first third of the 2017 LPGA
season, Ko’s best result was a tie for second
at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii. She
sat 14th on the LPGA moneylist when she
took a three-week break from competition at
the end of May.
After changing equipment makers, most
players would be delighted with a form line
that reads: T-46, T-8, T-9, T-8, CUT, T-11, T-2 ,
WDC, T-9, T-10. But Ko is a victim of her own
Analysing her statistics, Ko has improved
substantially in driving accuracy and
greens in regulation. Thus far, she had
found 80.44 per cent of fairways (up from
70.88) and hit 73.61 per cent of greens (up
Her biggest area of concern would be on
the greens. Last year Ko led the tour in putts
per GIR with an average of 1.71. This year she
had slipped to 14th (1.75). Hence, her scoring
average had also declined to 10th (69.78)
after being second best on tour (69.60).
Little wonder she went back and forth
between an Odyssey winged putter and
Odyssey 2-Ball putter before making her
fourth putter switch of the season when she
put a PXG Bat Attack winged putter into
the bag. As far as technique, Ko has gone
from left-hand low on short putts to using a
conventional grip on all putts.
Tiger Woods faced intense scrutiny in
1998 after choosing to rebuild the swing
that won the 1997 Masters by a staggering
12 strokes. He also sacked a reliable caddie
(Fluff Cowan), dealt with the transition to
new equipment (Nike) and had his time
taken up by an increasing number of
Woods sacrificed short-term results for
long-term success. After the swing changes
kicked into gear, he won 32 tournaments on
the US PGA Tour in five seasons (1999-2003).
At his awesome best, Woods won seven of 11
Majors from the 1999 US PGA Championship
through to the 2002 US Open.
By taking a three-week hiatus when her
world No.1 ra nking was under threat, it’s
evident that Ko wasn’t overly concerned
about protecting her standing as the game’s
best player. No doubt she wanted to find
some better form and be fresh for the year’s
remaining Majors as well as the McKayson
New Zealand Women’s Open in her hometown
of Auckland. Her focus is the longer term.
Tougher competition a
catalyst for change
The profile of Tiger Woods has led to better
athletes competing at the professional level
and this is particularly evident in women’s
golf where players under the age of 25 rule
the roost. The talent pool has grown as the
media coverage and financial rewards made
golf a more appealing and accessible career
path for women outside America than it was
a couple of decades ago.
You can mount a convincing argument
What has brought scrutiny upon Ko is the
diminishing number of good results by an incumbent
Less-than stellar putting has prevented
Ko from taking a title so far in 2017.
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