Leadbetter or worse?

This month, in a highly publicized move, Phil Mickelson changed swing coaches by going to golf's number one instructor, Butch Harmon. Harmon, who has taught players such as Tiger Woods (now with Hank Haney) and Adam Scott, has perennially been number one in the ranking of golf teachers. However, for about as long, David Leadbetter has trailed Harmon in second place.

While Leadbetter is one of the most respected teachers in the game, his stable of professional golfers has started to decline. Of course, those big names who are still his pupils are struggling, and could jump ship with the many others. Former students of Leadbetter include Aaron Baddeley, and Sean O'Hair. Both have gone on to win PGA Tour events since leaving Leadbetter. In the case of Baddeley, he has captured two Tour titles using the "Stack and Tilt" swing taught by Plummer and Bennett.

Numerous other golfers have suffered under Leadbetter's watch. Ty Tryon has struggled ever since he earned his Card when he was 17, and is now playing mini-tours. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose both struggled under Leadbetter's philosophy.

Likewise, two of golf's "picturesque" swings have repeatedly failed recently. Ernie Els, who is the poster boy for smooth swings, has failed to win on the PGA Tour for two years. Michelle Wie, who Johnny Miller says has the best swing in golf, is also failing to meet the success that most expected. Charles Howell III, however, finally has reached some of his potential, despite going on a winless drought for several years under Leadbetter's eye.

It's hard to believe that Leadbetter has retained his number two ranking for teachers despite the failure of many of his high profile students. Personally, the work that Hank Haney has done in improving Tiger's swing would make me think he should have escalated. He also taught Mark O'Meara during the hot portion of his career

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