Pete Cowen – Europe to win 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine

Pete Cowen coaches six of the 12 European Ryder Cup team members. Find out his verdict on Darren Clarke’s wildcard selections and why he believes they will overcome Team USA again at Hazeltine.  


Many people have been saying to me that Russell Knox should have made Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team but what people forget is that team spirit is an essential element and Darren knows this better than most.

Knox only needed five points to make the team yet he chose to play in the States instead of heading over to Denmark with the other wildcard contenders.

He’s more a US PGA Tour player and isn’t really known on the European Tour by the lads. Thomas Pieters’ selection came as no surprise for two reasons. First, he’s been playing well all season and could easily have won in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year and the manner in which he played in Denmark while paired with Clarke just highlighted he can turn it on, not just with his game but mentally as well.

I first saw Thomas when he was 13 at a Belgium training camp and he immediately caught my eye. I’ve seen hundred of kids who can hit a ball, but I see very few who can play the game. Thomas could always hit it and his college coach Mike Small did a great job of turning him into a player.


Sense of humour

It also helps that Thomas is built like an athlete and trains like one. With a great physique, his long levers enable him to hit it hard and take courses apart through his length. But working with him you get to know his character and this is one area where you see his relentless work ethic and a Henrik Stenson-like sense of humour. This why his choice was a perfect fit for Darren’s team.

I’m on the range right now at Crans-sur-Sierre for the Omega European Masters and the feedback from the other players in the team is just want Darren would want to hear.

Mike Walker and I are working with six of the players selected in the Ryder Cup team. In fact, there are only two I’ve never worked with.

One of our players who has battled back through injury is Chris Wood and it was great to hear from Mike that’s he’s been hitting it great with no issues. So hopefully, he will be ring on all cylinders come Hazeltine. I’ve been spending some time with Lee Westwood, working on his wedge play, which just didn’t seem to be quite right at the Czech Masters. It’s only taken a few hours and Lee is back in the groove and got his distance and spin control dialled in.

Lee is instrumental for Darren’s team, as he’s not only got all that experience from nine previous Ryder Cups, but he knows many of the lads and will know exactly what to say to them when the time is right.

Just look how he gelled with Danny Willett at The Masters this year in the final round, it just looked like they were having fun … as they were. That’s what the European Ryder Cup success has been built on over the years. Danny has got over The Masters fever and is back working harder than ever on the range. He’s a grafter and it won’t be long before he wins again.

willett, westwood

Rookies not like the old days

The US PGA Tour has created a Task Force to see just what Europe’s winning formula has been but we all know it’s that locker room atmosphere. I’ve been there for the past 10 occasions and it’s the essential ingredient for the winning team. Europe has mastered it over the years, thanks to the likes of Seve and Olazábal, which Darren has factored in. Whether the Americans can emulate this formula we will have to wait and see.

We know Hazeltine will be set up for the American players, long and open, but even though they aren’t defending, the pressure will be on Davis Love III and his team. Darren’s got six rookies and he’s got to ‘blood’ the next wave of players to secure the future for Europe, so in many ways he has nothing to lose. Davis Love’s team, on the other hand, dominates in terms of world ranking points and repower but Europe’s rookies aren’t like the rookies of old.

Willett won The Masters, Wood won the BMW PGA Championship, Cabrera-Bello finished third in the WGC- Match Play in the States, Sullivan has won twice this year and experienced playing Stateside, Fitzpatrick isn’t effected in the slightest from stage fright and has won when the pressure is on, and Pieters, as we know, is bang on form.

This is why I believe that Europe and their fighting spirit will hold on to the Ryder Cup by one point.


Cowen’s collection

Share this article
What's in the bag
Swing Sequence

Wyndham Clark Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy One of the...

Xander Schauffele swing sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy Xander Schauffele has...

Related articles

1 day ago

Rory McIlroy removed US Open scars at Home of Golf

Rory McIlroy rebounded from his US Open disappointment to make a...

Rayhan Thomas Takes Morocco In His Stride

Rayhan Thomas is making waves at the International Series Morocco after...