Matt Wallace’s camp has hit back at coach Pete Cowen after he branded the four-time European Tour winner a “complete idiot” on the eve of The Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Cowen, who works with the likes of Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland and Henrik Stenson, launched a scathing attack in an interview published by The Times, and even called for the European Tour to ban Wallace for his behaviour at the BMW International Open in Germany, where he was overhead berating his caddie, Dave McNeilly.
“He is a complete idiot and the European Tour has to do something about it,” Cowen said. “A bollocking 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, who will play with Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed for the first two rounds of The Open, has since apologised and vowed to rectify his on-course behaviour.
Chubby Chandler, Wallace’s agent, has also come out in support of his man, branding Cowen’s calls to get him banned as ‘utterly ridiculous”.
“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 told The Telegraph. “Matt and Dave have a terrific relationship and are very close. 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.”