Peter Cowen, one of the world’s leading teaching professionals, has received a PGA Recognition Award for his services to golf.
And the savvy Yorkshireman, a PGA Master Professional, attributed much of his success to the players he has helped to keep on the straight and narrow rather than claim all the kudos.
“It’s due to them, not me, because I don’t hit a shot,” he stressed at the PGA annual lunch in Manchester where he was presented with the award by Jim Pape chairman of The PGA in England & Wales (North).
“But it’s nice to get the honour, especially after starting another career when I’d finished playing,” said the former Lindrick head professional who committed himself to full-time coaching 16 years ago.
“I was on the European Tour in 1989 and my last Open Championship at Troon the same season, then played in the PGA Cup in 1992 when I also won the PGA North Region Championship,” he reflected. “Since then I’ve been teaching.”
Cowen had his feet firmly on the ground when he chatted to fellow guests, among them the ebullient Peter Alliss, during a drinks reception in the dizzy heights of the Hilton Hotel Cloud 23 bar.
He was quite matter-of-fact about his achievements considering he has worked with 15 Ryder Cup players including Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, and nine out of the top 16 all-time money winners.
“I’ve a lot of different players such as Henrick Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen,” he said.
He rated Sergio Garcia as his most talented pupil.
“I don’t see him anymore because he wouldn’t listen!” he revealed.
Career highlights included seeing McDowell win the US Open at Pebble Beach then Oosthuizen the Open at St Andrews, both in 2010, followed by Clarke the next year at Royal St George’s.
Earlier, Cowen helped to elevate Westwood and Luke Donald to World No 1 and hoped Stenson would emulate them.
“I just do the job,” he said modestly. “People have asked me what it’s like getting to the top of Everest but I always tell them the climb’s much better than the peak.”
But he admitted he would not be taking on any more players.
“I’m 63 in January so the ones I’ve got are the finished crop. I will continue coaching the four coaches who work for me, including Mike Walker who will take over my mantle. But I would never sit around and do nothing.”
The lunch was hosted by PGA chief executive Sandy Jones with all the fundraising proceeds going to the PGA Benevolent Fund which is a charity that assists PGA Members on an individual basis who have fallen or are going through difficult times.