Pete Cowen shelves retirement plan after yet another major winner

Pete Cowen
Pete Cowen

Swing coach Pete Cowen was planning on retiring not so long ago, but the Yorkshireman who helped Gary Woodland win the US Open at Pebble Beach admits he cannot walk away given his current success.

Cowen, 68, hails from Sheffield but has been coaching some of the world’s best golfers in recent years.

Having worked with the likes of Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy, his latest triumph came when 35-year-old Woodland lifted his first major with success in California over the weekend.

Now Cowen concedes he is not thinking about walking away from the sport as his current proteges read like a who’s who of golf.

“I never thought I’d be coaching all these top Americans,” he said.

“I think they like hearing it in simple terms – there’s no bull**** from a Yorkshireman. I was going to retire a while ago, but I can’t retire now with this chapter going on, can I?

“I was looking down the leaderboard thinking, I coach him, him, him and I’ve worked with him, him, him in the past.

“In the top 15, I think I’ve worked at one stage or the other with all about 12 of them, nine of the top 11.”

Woodland secured the title after carding a final score of 13 under par, three shots clear of compatriot and two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka, another man to have benefited from Cowen’s work.

“It’s awkward when you’re coaching the first two,” he said.

“You’re thinking to yourself, ‘I can’t lose here’, but you know its going to be awkward. I had the first three home at St Andrews in 2010. One is going to be happy, the other p***** off.

“If I hadn’t have started coaching Gary then Brooks will probably have won. He’ll be hurting, but I’ve spoke to Ricky (Elliott, Koepka’s caddie) and he said, ‘Don’t worry, Portrush (venue for 2019 Open) is in the bag with my local knowledge’.

“This will motivate Brooks even more, getting so close to history like that.”

While casual fans of golf may not be aware of Cowen’s input into developing its leading stars, that is just the way the former professional wants it.

“I don’t really care about the recognition thing,” he added.

“It’s about the players isn’t it. It’s brilliant helping someone like Gary reach his ambitions. The US Open is like the Open to us. Pebble is a good place for me.

“My first major was with Graeme (McDowell) in 2010 and now my most recent major is at Pebble. It’s been a hell of a decade.”

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