There’s very little that Pete Cowen hasn’t achieved in the game. This year he completed his coaching Grand Slam thanks to the skills of Brooks Koepka, whose short game Cowen has looked after or the past five years, and he has captured five of the past 12 majors.
This year the Sheffield mentor is gearing up for his 11th Ryder Cup and he will be the hand on the tiller for Henrik Stenson. The only doubt over the Swede’s inclusion for Le Golf National was an elbow problem but Cowen had some reassuring words for the European fans.
“It’s fine, I was with him in Orlando for five days the week before last and he’s hit plenty of balls, he just needs to find a putting stroke at the moment. If you look at his stats he’s still leading greens in regulation which is the stat we need for Paris.
“He’s also No. 1 on the PGA Tour in terms of driving accuracy and approaching the green so, if he finds a putting stroke, no problem.”
Much has been made of Matt Wallace’s late run with his victory in Denmark but Cowen is happy with the five that made the team automatically.
“I’m not sure they wanted any more rookies in the team with six in last time at Hazeltine, which proved a little beyond everybody.
“Players like Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren and Jon Rahm are not really rookies, but they are Ryder Cup rookies unfortunately.
“You can be as experienced and win as many tournaments as you want but when you hit that first tee at the Ryder Cup and you’re representing all of Europe against America, you are a rookie and you’re fairly nervous.”
And with his work with Koepka you might wonder if things get a bit awkward on a Ryder Cup week?
“No because I can’t lose then. Whoever wins I’m alright. I can’t lose. It’s like having players on both sides of a football team. No, I’m only joking, I obviously want the Europeans to win.
“Brooks is a client of mine and I did actually help him with his chipping at Hazeltine so I probably am part of the downfall of the European Ryder Cup team. I don’t think my chipping lesson at Hazeltine really made any difference to the result there though.”
And the big question, who partners Koepka in France? Unsurprisingly this got the big answer…
“I think there will be a fourball partnership with Dustin. Foursomes? The case isn’t set up for 350-yard drives but his 1-iron goes 300 yards down the middle so I’m sure he could play with anyone but it’s who you are compatible with.
“Dustin and Brooks obviously get on well and you’ve got to be looking for someone of a similar character, they don’t seem to get nervous regardless of what happens. I would expect them to be a pairing whether it’s foursomes or a fourball.”