Exclusive: Rory McIlroy to begin working officially with swing coach Pete Cowen
For the first time since he was eight years old, Rory McIlroy is set to sign up with a new swing coach. The four-time major winner is in the process of cementing his relationship with Pete Cowen as he tries to recover his form in time for The Masters, the season’s first major that begins two weeks on Thursday. Cowen has worked in an unofficial basis with McIlroy before, but only when his long-time guru Michael Bannon has not been present at a tournament. Most recently, the much-lauded Yorkshireman was seen with McIlroy on the range at Bay Hill and then at Sawgrass a fortnight ago. Cowen told reporters that he “was just giving Rory my opinion” and pointed out that he has known him since he was a consultant coach to the Ireland amateur youth team. Yet now Cowen is being employed on an official basis, as Mcllroy seeks to benefit from the expertise that has brought 10 majors and more than 275 Tour wins in the last quarter of a century. The story of Rory McIlroy’s dreaded ‘two-way’ miss Cowen’s roster has featured the likes of Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett and Tommy Fleetwood and currently includes Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. While McIlroy’s management company and Cowen, himself, refused to comment when approached by Telegraph Sport, it is understood that the four-time major champion has told fellow pros of his “change in direction” in appointing Cowen. The news will lead to raised eyebrows, not least because of the longevity of the McIlroy-Bannon partnership. “Michael knows my swing better than anyone knows it, inside out,” Mcilroy remarked, as recently as July.