The Loop

Pettersen Leaves Gilchrist For Leadbetter

EDINA, Minn. -- Gary Gilchrist, the instructor who developed Michelle Wie while he was working for David Leadbetter and then left when Leadbetter took over the coaching duties after Wie emerged as a star, has lost another top player -- once again to Leadbetter.

Gilchrist and Suzann Pettersen, the No. 3 player in the Rolex Rankings, parted ways a couple weeks ago. Late Tuesday the Norwegian star was seen working under the watchful eye of Leadbetter on the short-game practice area at Interlachen CC, were the U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday.

Sources in the Pettersen camp said Suzann was looking for more specific instruction rather that the feel game Gilchrist teaches. After beginning work in December 2006 with Gilchrist, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, Pettersen won five times in 2007, including the McDonalds LPGA Championship. Pettersen has played well this year, but has yet to win, finishing second last week at the Wegman's LPGA in Rochester to Eun-Hee Ji.

Gilchrist has been big-footed more times than Sasquatch's sidewalk. In addition to losing Wie and Pettersen to Leadbetter, he was also pushed aside last year when Hank Haney was brought in to run the International Junior Golf Academy on Hilton Head Island. Gilchrist includes Julieta Granada among his current LPGA clients.

-- Ron Sirak