Rory McIlroy now working with Pete Cowen after “parting ways” with Michael Bannon

Rory McIlroy has confirmed that he has officially linked up with renowned swing coach Pete Cowen, but he has not parted company with childhood coach Michael Bannon.

McIlroy has been struggling with his swing since developing flaws during “speed training” sessions last autumn, a move prompted by the manner of Bryson DeChambeau’s dominant six-shot victory at the US Open in September.

Cowen, who has coached a number of major champions and now has Brooks Koepka under his guidance, was seen working with McIlroy on the practice range at The Players Championship earlier this month.

He admitted “giving his opinion” to McIlroy, whose problems came to a head during rounds of 79 and 75 at TPC Sawgrass, the defending champion crashing to 10 over par and missing the halfway cut by 10 shots.

  • Rory McIlroy’s quest for Bryson DeChambeau speed led to swing flaws
  • How Rory McIlroy got ‘sucked in’ to following Bryson DeChambeau

McIlroy had previously hinted at making changes to his backroom team as he remains without a victory since the WGC-HSBC Champions in November 2019, and the appointment of Cowen – revealed by the Daily Telegraph on Monday – to his “performance team” has been confirmed by the McIlroy camp.

Golf Channel reporter Todd Lewis spoke to the former world No 1 ahead of this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas, and McIlroy reiterated his frustrations with his golf swing in recent weeks, battling to avoid the “dreaded two-way miss” and admitting he was not sure which direction the ball would be heading as he completed his backswing.

McIlroy was seen on the range in Austin hitting shots with just his right arm, with Cowen apparently “going through his golf swing in reverse” in a bid to restore consistency and confidence to the four-time major champion.

His revelatory interview following his second round at Sawgrass created one of the biggest talking points of the year as he admitted his bid to add extra speed and distance was influenced by DeChambeau’s performance at Winged Foot.

“I was doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff, and my swing got flat, long, and too rotational,” he said. “Obviously I added some speed and I am hitting the ball longer, but what that did to my swing as a whole probably wasn’t a good thing, so I’m sort of fighting to get back out of that. That’s what I’m frustrated with.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, if this is the way they’re going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps.

“And I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing, and maybe to the detriment of my swing, I got there, but I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit.”

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“After Winged Foot I had a few weeks before we went to the West Coast and I started to try to hit the ball a bit harder, hit a lot of drivers, get a bit more speed, and I felt like that was sort of the infancy of where these swing problems have come from. So it’s just a matter of trying to get back out of it.”

McIlroy faces Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter in his opening match in Austin on Wednesday.

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