If Rory McIlroy plays well this week at Augusta Masters, I will take credit

Peter Cowen/Dubai
Filed on April 6, 2021
Rory McIlroy with Peter Cowen. — Supplied photo

News from the golf course is that the fairways are running fast with firm greens.

Greetings from Augusta!

I have been given the privilege of taking over the Fairway Views column live from Augusta this week for The Masters 2021, the first major on the men’s golf schedule this year.

Thanks to Khaleej Times and Nick Tarratt.

I am staying in a shared house with caddies Billy Foster and Ricky Elliott who are carrying the bags of Matt Fitzpatrick and Brooks Koepka respectively.

I seem to have attracted more media attention of late with all the rumours surrounding my coaching of Rory McIlroy.

Just to put the record straight, as I have already done in my Worldwide Golf monthly column, that Michael Bannon has been Rory’s coach since Rory was 7 or 8 years old. I would like Michael to still be involved, he is almost part of the McIlroy family.

I have always had an eye on Rory since I was the former Head Coach of the Irish Men’s Golf Team, which Rory was a member of when he was as young as 14.

I have often spoken with Michael about Rory’s game, especially his wedges and controlling his ball flight and we have very similar thoughts on his swing.

Now I have been closer to Rory in the last couple of weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the media attention, both from golf and sports journalists on and off site, and all the social media pressure on Rory.

It is a spotlight that only this current generation has experienced, but I suppose it is all part of their job in the sports industry that they cannot avoid or want to, as they have to encourage and protect their all important brand and profile.

I cannot add much to what others have already written, but I can confirm that Rory and I have an ‘arrangement.’

With my usual positive Yorkshire outlook and half glass full attitude on life it is arguably a win-win for Peter Cowen.

If Rory plays well and perhaps wins this week or soon, I will take the credit.

If he does not win or do well, I can always say that our project is work in progress and needs time.

News from the golf course is that the fairways are running fast with firm greens.

I expect the winning score to be more like four-under-par rather than the 20-under-par record score from defending Masters Champion Dustin Johnson last November.

The weather forecast this week looks good with warm temperatures of around 26 – 30 degrees and a chance of light rain on all four days with just a light breeze.

My buddy Mike Walker is with me this week keeping a watchful eye on Matt Fitzpatrick, who has had a decent run over the last few weeks in the US.

Brooks Koepka also seems to be making the news, it is only a couple of weeks ago that we saw him on crutches with his right knee in plaster.

Brooks played 5 holes on Sunday and we hope his health issues are behind him, but rest assured if it was not The Masters week he would still be resting. He is in good spirits and he came round to our house on Sunday night for dinner.

The other players I am looking after this week are: Henrik Stenson, DP World Ambassador Ian Poulter, Gary Woodland and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett.

It will be interesting to see patrons back on the golf course this week.

We have all missed the golf fans and it is interesting to note that all players have been allocated four passes each and none for coaches.

I am back home to Rotherham after The Masters for a couple of weeks before returning to the US for the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, May 20th – May 23rd.

This recent stretch in the US has been for five weeks including this week. That is a lot for me!

All of us need a decent holiday after what we have all endured in the last 12 months and my wife Fran and myself are looking forward to getting out of the UK and coming over to the sun in Dubai, hopefully at the end of May subject to legal, health and other government regulations. We cannot wait. We are both fully vaccinated with passports ready (perhaps with vaccine passports?) and our cases already packed.

I have been part of 10 players’ wins in Majors so far and I am hopeful and confident of increasing this number, but as with the players, we all have to be patient and wait for the final nine holes on Sunday and even longer.

Good luck to all! We are in for a great week at The Masters 2021. Enjoy!

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