Pete Cowen: Money makes the golf world go round!

Golf is a selfish game and at the top level of the professional sport, money is everything and the Majors become the key focus for the elite players.

I’ve had some great results this year with my players, particularly in the USA on the PGA Tour, and it’s flattering to have the big names wanting to work with me. But that’s what getting results does – it makes you more in demand!

Golf is a selfish game and at the top level of the professional sport, money is everything and the Majors become the key focus for the elite players. The Ryder Cup has just shown once more that it’s one of the biggest team events in the world and even though the players are honoured to be part of the teams I bet Colin Montgomerie would gladly swap all his European Ryder Cup appearances for just one Claret Jug.


Money is the main driving force behind most athletes and the top golfers want to use their time efficiently to earn the top pay-outs. Aaron Rodgers, the NFL quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, has an annual salary of $33.5 million before bonuses and endorsements. Compare the likes of footballers Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo and basketball’s LeBron James. These guys take home more than $100 million a year.

It doesn’t matter what the sport is, players gauge their success by their financial worth. This is why the top coaches are highly sought-after and why their results make them hot property for the big name players.

WINNING MAKES YOU WANTED

I got 2018 off to a great start with Gary Woodland’s win at the Pheonix Open in February; followed by Ian Poulter’s first strokeplay victory on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open; then Brooks Koepka’s double Major-haul supercharged things.

However, it’s not just the victories that make you popular. Players are very much aware of the stats and where they need to improve to rocket up the rankings and maximise their financial potential.

As a golf swing coach, two vital statistics are, ‘driving accuracy’ and ‘greens in regulation.’ So to have Henrik Stenson lead both of those on the PGA Tour this year by a comfortable margin has drawn even more attention my way.

In 2019 most PGA Tour events will be worth around $10 million in total prizemoney, and the FedEx Cup will grow by a whopping $25 million next season. The attraction for Europe’s top players to base themselves in America has become even greater.

The Rolex Series on the Europe Tour has been a success for its members, as those ranked between 80 and 110 are earning more money than ever. The big challenge, though, is how do you keep the top names committed to events and maintain a balanced schedule around the Majors.

The DP World Tour Championship and the Middle East Swing is appealing to the highest ranked players but it’s not just the money that pulls the likes of Justin Rose and Henrik across the Atlantic, but scheduling is playing a more crucial role.

To earn the big bucks, keeping fresh can be the difference of winning an event or just making the cut. More importantly, for the established players, managing a home life is critical to maintaining focus on the course. Being away from your wife and kids for a prolonged period of time impacts form in a negative way.

CLOSE TO HOME

Nearly all the guys in the States have deals with Netjets or Wheelsup, which means after an event they can be home on Sunday night and fly out to the following event on a Tuesday evening in time to play the pro-am on a Wednesday.

If I had any sense, I would have based myself in the States years ago. But I continue to fly a quarter of a million miles each year around the globe to make sure my guys are on top of their game.

Even though technology has advanced and I will have a quick look at a player’s video or TrackMan stats, you still need to stand next to them to know what they are feeling. Henrik is a prime example. I’ve worked with him for close on 18 years and, as we know, tee to green he’s the best in the world at the moment but I was still needed to take a hands-on approach at Le Golf National last month.

I’ve been a little too free at helping players with my knowledge over the years and some coaches have even benefitted along the way.

So, in my next column I will explain how I’m going to pass on all of my hard-earned learning and experience before I take a bow from life on Tour. I’ll be more than happy to explain the whole thing from start to finish.