Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - PROFILE -

Pete Cowen may have his name at­tached to the Academy, but Mike Walker is a big rea­son why Wil­lett and Fitz­patrick call it their sec­ond home. Cowen’s num­ber two is the go-to coach for a large English con­tin­gent on Tour, in­clud­ing Chris Wood, Dave Horsey and Ed­die Pep­perell.

Walker’s work­load means he clocks up plenty of air miles, and was even forced to can­cel his hon­ey­moon to travel to Au­gusta and over­see the prepa­ra­tions of Wil­lett & Co. But had he turned his phone off when they were com­ing down the stretch on Sun­day, Walker con­cedes he would have missed ar­guably the high­point of his coach­ing ca­reer.

“I had to be up at ridicu­lous o-clock on the Mon­day morn­ing so I went to bed when they reached the turn,” he told us. “Spi­eth was out in front at that point and about half an hour later my phone was going ba­nanas. When Danny won, we had a cou­ple of beers to cel­e­brate... it’s still the only flight I’ve ever missed.”

Walker ad­mits it took him a few days to get over the shock, but more so be­cause of how events tran­spired on the back nine. “I’m not say­ing I knew he was going to win,” says Walker, “but it didn’t sur­prise me to see Danny in con­tention on Sun­day. A lot of peo­ple think he came in off the radar, but he was per­form­ing very con­sis­tently and only just missed out in the Race to Dubai.

“His game was in good shape, but in a lot of ways he didn’t re­ally match the clichés of Au­gusta by draw­ing the ball. He didn’t take full ad­van­tage of the par 5s ei­ther, but what sep­a­rates Danny sta­tis­ti­cally is the shots be­tween 150 and 225 yards. He is the elite of the elite and to score well at Au­gusta you need to leave your­self easy putts, which he man­aged to do.”

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