McIlroy to work solely with long-time coach Bannon after Cowen split

By Sports Desk November 11, 2021

Rory McIlroy has opted to work solely with long-time coach Michael Bannon once again after splitting with Pete Cowen.

McIlroy turned to swing guru and straight-talking Englishman Cowen eight months ago as he strived to return to the peak of his powers.

The four-time major champion ended an 18-month trophy drought when he won the Wells Fargo Championship in May and claimed his 20th PGA Tour title with a CJ Cup triumph last month.

McIlroy has now decided to only work with Bannon, who first coached his fellow Northern Irishman at the age of eight.

"Michael and I are back working together," McIlroy told Golfweek.

"I've always had a relationship with Pete and I'll ask for his input if I need it. But now it's Michael and me."

McIlroy had stated after his CJ Cup triumph: "There was a lot of reflection the last couple weeks and this is what I need to do.

"I just need to play golf, I need to simplify it, I need to just be me. For the last few months I was maybe trying to be someone else to try to get better and I sort of realised that being me is enough and being me, I can do things like this."

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    Golf's world number two, Jon Rahm, believes teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz can benefit from having Rafael Nadal around as his burgeoning tennis career progresses.

    Nineteen-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz became the first tennis player to beat both Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament on clay, on his way to becoming the youngest ever winner at the Madrid Open earlier in May.

    Alcaraz has won three of the past four tournaments he has entered, including the Miami Open, moving to number six in the ATP world rankings and emerging as a serious challenger for the French Open, which starts on Sunday.

    When asked about Alcaraz's rapid ascent, Rahm said Alcaraz can still learn a lot from 21-time grand slam winner Nadal.

    "I thought you were talking about a golfer. I was just confused," Rahm joked, speaking ahead of this week's US PGA Championship. "I've heard about what he's done, and I've seen the results. Pretty impressive, especially in the world of tennis.

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    Following a tie for 27th at the Masters, Rahm returned to action earlier in May, winning the Mexico Open.

    The lingering dynamic this weekend at Southern Hills will be the fact Phil Mickelson will not be there to defend his title, following his controversial remarks about the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour.

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