Ryder Cup 2018
Sep 5th, 2018
Henrik Stenson will get a wildcard, says coach
He's also Brooks Koepka's coach! So he knows a thing or two...
Pete Cowan is coach to both Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson. So he knows a thing or two about what the Ryder Cup will have in store...
Pete Cowen Q&A
Will Henrik get one of the wildcards for the European Ryder Cup team?
“I’m pretty sure Henrik will get a wildcard, I’m not sure they want any more rookies in the team with five in last time at Hazeltine, which proved a little beyond everybody. I don't care that people say 'well they're not really rookies'; [players] like Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, they are Ryder Cup rookies unfortunately. This is the eleventh Ryder Cup I’ve been involved with and you can be as experienced and win as many tournaments as you want, but when you hit that first tee at the Ryder Cup and you’re representing all of Europe against America, you are a rookie and you’re fairly nervous.”
How’s Henrik’s elbow?
“It’s fine, I was with him in Orlando for five days the week before last and he’s hit plenty of balls, he just needs to find a putting stroke at the moment. If you look at his stats he’s still leading greens in regulation which is the stat we need for the Paris National. He’s number one on the PGA tour in terms in driving accuracy and greens in regulation tee to green which is really the stat we need in Paris. He just needs to find a putting stroke.”
Henrik is currently 60th in the FedExCup rankings, what do you think he needs to do to raise his game at the BMW Championship and make it to the TOUR Championship at East Lake?
“You struggle to win tournaments these days based purely on ball striking and Henrik [Stenson] has found that recently, he’s putted so poorly that in fact this week in Boston at the Dell Technologies Championship, 76 players made the cut and Henrik managed to finish 81st in putting. He’d obviously got worse than the people who missed the cut. He needs to get his putting boots on.“
What is your view on Thomas Pieters hitting form of late?
“Thomas Pieters is a readymade team for Rory, Graeme McDowell was a great partner for Rory, but we’ve found Thomas and they were so successful at Hazeltine, it would be a readymade team. Anybody who is not a rookie has a chance of a pick.”
Are these the best teams you have seen in a while on both sides of the Atlantic?
“They is a statistic that shows that the average world ranking for the American team is nine, and for Europe it is ten, so they’re very closely matched. That’s why we need much more experience in the European team. The course will definitely favour the Europeans, it’s not a bombers course, it’s a strategic and difficult course to play, probably more difficult in foursomes than four-ball, but then every course I think is more difficult in foursomes as it’s just an alternate shot but it’s the pressure of letting your partner down.”
As you’re coaching Brooks, are there any split loyalties ahead of the Ryder Cup?
“Brooks is a great guy to work with and I really like him. It’s a pleasure to work with him and see the confidence he’s got. But I’m really keen for the Europeans to win the Ryder Cup, I don’t think they’re going to pick a rookie. Five in a team is enough even though there are players playing fantastically well who are rookies. The Ryder Cup is difficult when it’s your first one. It’s very difficult. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a really top player say ‘it’s the first time ever on the first tee, I actually thought I was going to miss it.’ That was from a season-winning professional who’s won loads of tournaments, but he still said it was the first time he was so nervous he actually thought he was going to miss it.”
Who would you expect Brooks to play with at the Ryder Cup?
“I think there will be a four-ball partnership. Phil drives the ball so well even though it’s not a course for long driving at Paris National and I’m sure he can play with virtually anyone. His compatibility with Dustin and Brooks is good, they get on well with each other and you’ve got to be looking for someone of a similar character, they don’t seem to get nervous regardless of what happens. I would expect them to be partners whether it’s foursomes or four ball.”
Does it make it difficult for you coaching Brooks as well as European players as well, switching over from the European side to the US side?
“No because I can’t lose then. Whoever wins I’m alright. I can’t lose. It’s like having players on both sides of a football team. No, I’m only joking, I obviously want the Europeans to win. Brook’s is a client of mine and I did actually help him with his chipping at Hazeltine so I probably am part of the downfall of the European Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine. I don’t think my chipping lesson at Hazeltine really made any difference to the result there though.”