Rory McIlroy officially adds Pete Cowen as swing coach ahead of The Masters

The Irishman has worked with Michael Bannon since he was eight years old, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult to work together

Jack Rathborn@JackRathborn
Tuesday 23 March 2021 10:10
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has officially turned to swing coach Pete Cowen to rectify his recent struggles in a bid to contend at The Masters in two weeks.

The Irishman’s form has taken a dive in recent weeks, with Cowen sort to help solve his swing issues given long-time coach Michael Bannon has been unable to regularly link up with the world No 11 over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The English coach, who currently works with Brooks Koepka, offered guidance to McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship, but is now on board in an official capacity.

“Pete is an addition to Rory’s performance team,’’ Sean O’Flaherty, McIlroy’s agent, told ESPN, confirming the Telegraph’s story about the forthcoming change.

The four-time major winner candidly admitted his recent problems stem from the pursuit of speed and distance and the influence of Bryson DeChambeau’s recent success.

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“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything to do with what Bryson did at the U.S. Open,’’ McIlroy said. “I think a lot of people saw that and were like, ‘Whoa, if this is the way they’re going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps.’

“The one thing that people don’t appreciate is how good Bryson is out of the rough. Not only because of how upright he is but because his short irons are longer than standard, so he can get a little more speed through the rough than us, than other guys.

“And I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing, and I maybe just -- to the detriment a little bit of my swing, I got there, but I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit.’’McIlroy is pushing to end a winning drought that stretches back to November 2019 when he captured the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

The Masters begins on 5 April, with McIlroy still pursuing a Green Jacket to complete the career grand slam of major titles.

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