Di Dougherty meets: Sky Sports pundit Denis Pugh

Tv presenter and Lynx ambassador Di Dougherty chats to the leading coach Denis Pugh

Tell us who you coach?
Ross Fisher and Francesco Molinari. It involves a lot of travel as I try to be at an event every three weeks. I cross the Atlantic approximately 10 times a year.

Where do you coach and how is your own game?
The Wisley is my home club. I also coach at the Golf College in Lindfield and my winter base BonMont near Barcelona. I play most Saturdays with my wife Nett.

If you give me the odd Mulligan and all putts inside four feet I am happy to claim scratch still but the reality is I would need minimum four a side to play Ross or Fran in straight-up matches. I’d probably get beat too! They are very very good and I am not.
I played my last tour event in 1983 although I did play Sunningdale foursomes with my son Robert recently.

I understand there are some very good golfers in the family?
I am number three in the family. Robert played off +1 before working in banking and Netti is a former German international. She’s off two in Germany which equates to five at the Wisley. She still plays German national events but she is a tax judge so is too busy with her work to really play enough to win!

Is it easy to spot natural talent?
Yes I really believe it is. Social media often throws up that debate. Many think you can get there by just hard work – the 10K hours theory. I don’t subscribe to that. I coached Monty for 12 years so I know more than a little about talent.

Of course even Monty worked to hone that talent and a little luck at right time is needed too. Talent, hard work and luck makes champions.

What top tips would you give to a typical 18 handicapper?
Enjoy the game as much as the bad shots allow you to. Remember the good shots and forget the bad ones. Read my book New Golf Thinking to learn how to get the most out of your game.

Whose swing do you most admire?
Of players I have not coached Robert Rock stands out as a great swing to watch – technically sound plus great rhythm.

Will Tiger win another Major?
Another Twitter time bomb! People are very pro or very anti-Tiger. Whatever I say gets the hornets’ nest buzzing. I will sit on the fence to wait and see.

Will Paul McGinley lead Europe to victory at the Ryder Cup?
I have been at five Ryder Cups as a coach, all winning ones! I am the lucky mascot! I will only be there if either of those two make team. I see in Paul all the qualities needed to be a wonderful Ryder Cup Captain. No fence-sitting this time – Europe to win again!

Where is your favourite place in the world to play and why?
I love the Wisley. I have been there since 2000 the members have been fantastic to me and welcomed Netti too. It’s 27 holes of Robert Trent Jones Jnr design, always a challenge and very high standards of maintenance. The practice and teaching facilities are as good as it gets. I’m proud to say I have had input on the facilities over past 14 years.

Do you ever get nervous at the Majors with your players?
I never get nervous except if running late for a flight!
I am lucky, even on live TV at Sky I don’t get troubled by nerves. Though I must say that when Francesco was holing his putt at the Ryder Cup on the last green at Celtic Manor I had my eyes closed!

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