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Their working relationship is only a matter of weeks old but it’s clear that Pete Cowen is already having a profound effect on Rory McIlroy.

The 30-year-old has turned to the wily Yorkshireman in a bid to inject fresh impetus into his game in a bid to rediscover the form that helped him win four major championships in his first six years on tour.

Ahead of this week’s Masters – where victory would see him become just the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam – Northern Irishman McIlroy explained how the renowned Cowen has already changed his approach to the game.

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Priority number one? Live in the present, not the past nor future.

“I feel like there’s been a lot of looking back to try to go forward instead of just saying, okay, this is where we are, this is the present, this is what you’ve got to work with, let’s go forward from here,” explained McIlroy.

“There’s been a lot of, oh, well, back in 2014 I did this or look at this. You know, that’s a long time ago now. It’s not as if you can just magically delve back into it and bring it all back to life.

“Pete and I had a conversation about that. This is me and this is what you have to work with and we go from here.”

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As much as any technical change, it’s that new attitude that McIlroy is banking on to help him get back to his best.

He added: “I think that golfer going forward is just a little more knowledgeable about what he does and how he swings the club and the movements that he needs to make to basically hit three shots, right:  Hit a draw, hit a fade, hit one straight.  That’s all you need to do in the game of golf.  It’s not that hard.  It seems it at times. 

“That’s really it. Just more of an understanding of what I’m doing and being able to immediately address, okay, this shot happened because of this and I’m going to make sure that’s not going to happen again for the rest of the round. 

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“And I think being a little bit more in control of what I do; playing a little more conservatively, taking the big numbers out of play, maybe taking a couple of more clubs into certain greens and hitting it softer, controlling the ball flight, a few more three-quarter shots, not hitting everything flat-out.

“That’s the sort of golfer that I want to be going forward.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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