Pete Cowen: All set for a memorable Masters

After seeing the quality of golf from the game’s leading stars throughout the Florida Swing, this year’s Masters could be an all-time classic.

It was an interesting week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month and if the players produce the sort of quality they displayed at Bay Hill, we’re going to be in for at treat at Augusta National. This could be one of the most memorable Masters we’ve seen for many years. I was pleased with the way that Henrik Stenson handled himself. He played quite solidly throughout the week but couldn’t keep it going at the weekend. We’d been working mainly on his body movement, getting his body working much more actively. Just simple stuff. He putted well which is always a good sign of him finding his confidence and things are shaping up well for the rest of the season.

Rory’s magic

Henrik was unlucky to not close things out at Bay Hill but you can’t really do much when Rory McIlroy birdies five out of the last six holes. But that’s golf and you just have to accept that when these top players are running hot they can rocket up the leaderboard at any stage. Rory, though, has a huge advantage over the field. He can just drive courses to their knees and when he’s got the putter working he will shoot low. If he can produce a repeat performance of that stature at Augusta he could win The Masters in style and join the elite in becoming only the sixth player to complete the Grand Slam of all four Majors. It was also interesting to hear at Bay Hill that Rory had been working with Brad Faxon on trying to free up his putting stroke. It certainly worked well enough and that should give him much more confidence on the greens at Augusta.

Tiger’s form

There are so many top players running into form right now that it’s anyone’s game at The Masters. But we can’t ignore Tiger’s recent form. He may never get back to the Tiger Woods we raved about when he was in his prime but he’s getting better with each tournament he plays. He looks very comfortable with his swing at the moment – I could see that when he was working on the range. Tiger also knows the Augusta layout better than anyone else in the field. He knows how to make the most of the unique slopes of the greens and he can run the ball 40 or 50 yards using the contours to make up yards and put himself in the key areas on the fairways. With Tiger back and the other big names finding form coming into Masters week, it will be interesting to see who comes out top. It will be the battle of the bombers as they can take out most of Augusta’s trouble off the tee but you can never write off the player with the hottest putter.

Bombing it

Talking about bombing it. The Gorilla Golf League has got underway at my Academy at Rotherham and I can’t believe how much interest it has generated. We are pulling people in from all around the county and beyond, who just want to have some fun and give it a smash. The greatest part isn’t seeing the big lads crushing it but the new young faces who are popping down to either take on their dads, school friends or just see if they can improve on their previous distance. It’s great to hear that Chris May and his team at Emirates and the Creek are bringing the Gorilla Golf League to my Academies in Dubai. That will encourage more people to have a go and through that, take up the game. You need to make golf fun and the Gorilla Golf League certainly does that.