Peter Cowen at The Masters: Weather warning for Thursday morning!

Thunderstorms, high winds forecast but Joaquin Niemann looks in good form and is one of my tips to break through and win a Major

By Peter Cowen

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Peter Cowen at The Masters. - Supplied photo
Peter Cowen at The Masters. - Supplied photo

Published: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 6:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 6:44 PM

Here I am posting this live from the Practice Ground at Augusta National – my home for the week.

I am looking after three players here at Augusta – Brooks Koepka, Joaquin Niemann and Danny Willett. I arrived here on Monday morning having driven up from Miami following last week’s LIV Golf event.

The tradition around this place is hard to ignore – a very special place that all golf fans should try and visit as part of their ‘Bucket List’ at least once in their lives.

The smallest of Major fields and in theory the ‘easiest’ of the four to win, are gathered here.

Joaquin Niemann looks in good form and has had a stand-out year on LIV Golf – it is his fifth visit to Augusta with a tied 16th last year – his best place finish to date. He is still only 25 years old and is one of my tips to break through and win a Major if not here, in the future.

Chile's Joaquin Niemann hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during a practice round at Augusta. - Reuters
Chile's Joaquin Niemann hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during a practice round at Augusta. - Reuters

The Chilean is improving all the time. He currently sits at the top of the Individual Standings for the LIV Golf season so far – with two wins, the last one in Jeddah. His tied fourth place in the HERO Dubai Desert Classic with a 10 under par 72 hole score, just four shots back of Rory McIlroy, reinforces his consistent form.

Brooks Koepka is never one to be underestimated – he is a big-time player.

He plays well everywhere but especially in the Majors, where he has five to his name and is already one of an exclusive club of just 20 golfers in the history of the game to have won five or more.

Danny Willett is returning from injury and various left shoulder complications. He played on Sunday as a former champion with a guest – a lifetime privilege for former champions.

Danny looked like missing the first Major of the year, but his determination and positive attitude have seen him here – fit physically, and mentally. But with no tournament play over recent months – so anything Danny achieves this week has to be a bonus.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for all the players in the first round could be the weather.

The forecast for Thursday morning is rain and thunderstorms with strong winds. There is a 91% chance of precipitation.

It does not look like a good read, but I have never been an expert and have taken a more pragmatic approach to forecasts. I will always, along with my players, be prepared for the best or the worst weather.

The Augusta National golf course will have arguably the best preparation for heavy rains, with the green's infrastructure, tunnel drainage throughout the property and so much more.

However, we can never fight Mother Nature – it is what it is.

If you are visiting this year – stay safe and enjoy – if you are watching at home – certainly on Thursday, you are probably in the best place.

The good news this end is that from Friday onwards the weather forecast looks very good.

Good luck to all the players – I have just seen that The Open at Royal Troon Golf Club is less than 100 days away.

It is now a short Major’s season – but a seemingly much longer 12-month golf season. I still prefer the Majors to be a little more spread out – but fully understand the reasons behind finishing in July.

Looking forward to Thursday’s first tee shot at 8 am – let’s hope the forecasters are wrong!

- Cowen, 73 years old, is arguably the golf coach with the most victories in golf from his stable of players. He has Peter Cowen Golf Academies at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Emirates Golf Club and is headquartered in Rotherham England.


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