Matt Wallace’s camp has backed the world No 23 who plays with Tiger Woods in the first round of the Open after claims from record-breaking coach Pete Cowen that he should be banned for his on-course behaviour.
Cowen, the Yorkshireman who works with the likes of Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell, did not hold back when talking about an incident at the recent BMW International in Munich, where Wallace was seen remonstrating with caddie Dave McNeilly.
“He is a complete idiot and the European Tour has to do something about it,” Cowen told The Times in an interview published on Wednesday. “A b--------g is no good, a fine is no good. He needs a ban. It’s a form of cheating because you’re putting your opponent off. The best thing would have been if his caddie had dropped his bag — I’d have chucked it in the bloody lake — but that wouldn’t do Dave McNeilly any good.”
Wallace has since apologised and vowed to fix his temperament. Having finished in the top 12 in the last two majors, the 29-year-old from London comes into The Open as one of Britain’s principal hopes, a status reflecting in being selected to play with Woods and Patrick Reed in the opening two rounds.
Wallace called the 3.10pm tee-time on Thursday alongside the 15-time major-winner “a dream come true” and “the biggest moment of his career”.
Cowen and Wallace were seen to make up on the range on Wednesday but by then, Chubby Chandler, Wallace’s agent who has also overseen the careers of Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els, had spoken of his dismay to Telegraph Sport.
“It’s a shame on the eve of Matt playing with Tiger at such a special event that something has come up for which Matt has already apologised and signified that he is and has been addressing,” Chandler said. “Matt is determined to control his emotions and has been working with Dr Steve McGregor on the issue and the pair are already confident they have made great strides, together with input from Dave.
“Matt and Dave have a terrific relationship and are very close. Matt is only in his third full season as a Tour professional and his rise from the mini-tours has been remarkable and an example of hard work and determination paying off. He admits that sometimes his eagerness to succeed has got the better of him and has faced up to it, both with his team and the media.
“He’s a good kid who hasn’t smashed up markers or abused officials unlike some other players and to say he should be banned is utterly ridiculous. It’s funny, I remember a young player who I was on Tour with in the 70s who was renowned for his tantrums and snapping clubs. His name was Pete Cowen.”