Sport Golf

Sunday 4 December 2016

New coach can inspire Harrington

Bernie McGuire, in Akron, Ohio

Published 08/08/2011 | 05:00

After splitting with long-time coach Bob Torrance, Padraig Harrington looks almost certain to begin working at this week's US PGA Championship with the renowned Pete Cowen.

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Harrington spent 90 minutes on the Firestone practice range last Saturday afternoon with Cowen, after earlier sitting down with the Yorkshire-born coach during the course of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The triple-Major winning Harrington has had only two coaches in his career -- Howard Bennett and Torrance.

And although he captured last year's Asian Tour Iskander Johor Open, he has not had success on either the European Tour or the PGA Tour in three years since he captured the 2008 US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

Cowen has a stable of players including Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn and Irish Open winners Richard Finch and Simon Dyson.

"I had one or two coaches come up to me this week asking what my situation was," said Harrington. "But I did speak with Pete Cowen and I am going to continue down the road with him.

"I like what I heard but it's not like I am going to spend the next three days beating golf balls going into a Major.

"I asked Pete to have a look at my swing. He gave me his opinion and watched me hit a few shots, and certain stuff he said to me was different. But I realise also there is a time and a place for everything, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of a Major is not that time.

"Pete Cowen will be different because I've never had a chipping coach in my life and I've never had a bunker coach in my life, and he will offer the whole gamut.

"But we haven't agreed on anything, but I like what I've heard so far. And the reason I spoke with Pete is that when you look at all the players he works with there is not one that looks like the other."

Harrington was speaking after a Firestone final round two-over par 72 for a six-over par tally.

He was in a share of 59th place and looking at his worst showing in 13 Bridgestone appearances since the inaugural event in 1999.

Poorly

Graeme McDowell performed just as poorly, posting a final-round 71 for a nine-over-par total ahead of the final Major of the season. However, McDowell was delighted with the work he did with Cowen on Saturday.

"My golf swing felt more like it today, and that was thanks to the work I did with Pete, but I just couldn't score," said McDowell.

"So I now have to ground it out the next couple of days and get ready for next weekend.

"It's been a confidence-booster and there's nothing obscenely wrong. I've two or three days to get the game polished up, but I will be ready."

Cowen headed south to Atlanta accompanying Clarke, and with the British Open champion looking for a much-improved showing on a share of 68th place at 12-over, following rounds of 69 and 72 over the weekend. "It was a tough start to the week for me but I played better today," said Clarke.

Irish Independent

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