LISTEN: Off The Ball talk to the man behind Henrik Stenson's Open victory

Pete Cowen discusses working with Stenson and the mechanics behind his major success

BY Cian Roche 20:12 Monday 18 July 2016, 20:12 18 Jul 2016

Image: PGA

Henrik Stenson came out on top in one of the most enthralling final rounds of a major championship golf yesterday at Royal Troon to secure the Open Championship.

The 40-year-old has fought from struggling to be able to drive the ball 15 years ago when his confidence had deserted him, to carding a final round of 63 to see off Phil Mickelson to win a first major title.

And, with all good professional athletes performing across sports across the world, there is a team behind them dedicated to making them play as to the best of their ability. In Stenson's case, this was Pete Cowen.

Cowen joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball this evening and discussed the beginnings of their relationship and how far they had come in 15 years.

"He was a mess, he was a 25 year-old and at the end of [2001] he had lost it totally," he began. "He couldn't hit. He couldn't start it on the golf course let alone on the golf hole. He was losing all the golf balls on the course and his caddie, Grant Berry, came to me and said 'this kid has got a bit of talent, I'd like you to help him if you could'.

"I've known Grant years and he caddies for Daniel Berger now over in the US. I said I'd have a look and then when I looked I said it was going to be a difficult job but it'll be a complete rebuild if your up for it... It was almost like the yips with every club.

"He was frightened to hit it... There's only three things you've got to get right in golf - you've got to start the ball on line with the correct flight and the correct spin. Once you can do that, go and chip and putt because there's nothing else to it. Sounds easy, but that's true."

Henrik Stenson celebrates victory at Royal Troon yesterday. Image: Danny Lawson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cowen helped to rebuild and instil confidence in the young Stenson and pinpointed parts of his game that has held him back over the years.

"Henrik is quite technical, he would embrace quite technical movement. It's not a problem, he doesn't get frightened by it. He always wants to know how to get better. He's never satisfied by what he's got.

"Henrik has got three types of shots: good, very good and exceptional or perfect. He can't accept good or very good. It has to be almost perfect every time. But that limits his chances of winning because it takes two of those away. He's got a 30 per cent chance of winning then and that's what he doesn't win as often as he should. He can't accept good or very good which pushes him onto the level that he's on.

"I told him [during the final round] that you're going to have some good shots, some very good shots and some exceptional shots. You'll have to accept all three and not just one." 

You can listen to the full discussion from Monday's show by clicking the podcast below.

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