• Alistair Tait

The golf world is thinking of Pete Cowen


The world of golf is pretty small, which is why the news that Pete Cowen may have the coronavirus is hard to take.

Friend and colleague Jamie Corrigan, the Daily Telegraph’s excellent golf correspondent, broke the news of Cowen’s predicament in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. Although he hasn’t been tested, Cowen feels pretty sure he has the virus.

“You really don’t want this,” Cowen told Corrigan. “I’m feeling horrendous and wouldn’t wish this on anyone; no matter how young and fit they may be.”

Corrigan subsequently posted a tweet which seems to confirm the worst:

“Ignore the headline, the world's greatest coach, Pete Cowen, 'does' have coronavirus. The ambulance staff all but confirmed it. Have been in contact with him for the past few days and he is in his same stubborn humour. As SPOTY coach of the year Monty says, 'we wish him well'...”

Yes we do.

Cowen, who turns 70 in January, has been a permanent fixture on European Tour practice grounds since I started my career. He was last in action during the Players Championship, working with players such as Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland. Rest assured he would probably have put in 12 hour days at TPC Sawgrass.

Cowen’s work ethic is legendary. The renowned coach probably puts some of his players to shame for the length of time he spends on the practice range.

I remember going to Dubai for the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic. I turned up at the golf course at 6:30 am and Cowen and fellow coach Mike Walker were on the chipping green. They were still there at 6pm!

Cowen is Yorkshire through and through. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and, as you’ve probably gathered, expects his students to work hard. He isn’t what you would describe as loquacious but it pays to listen when he speaks. Arguably no one has a better understanding of the golf swing than Cowen.

I overheard Cowen talking to someone last year during the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. Cowen was sitting behind me telling a caddie he was seriously thinking about cutting back on his schedule. The coronavirus has cut back everyone’s schedule, not just Cowen’s.

Let’s hope the respected Yorkshireman pulls through this and we see him back working in the game. Maybe just not as hard, though.

Cowen has coached players to eight majors and over 250 tournament victories according to Corrigan’s story. He’s entitled to some time off.

I think I speak for everyone in the game when I say our thoughts right now are with Pete Cowen.

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