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Darren Clarke sacks coach

Darren Clarke has parted company with his coach Pete Cowen and is to take a three-week break from competitive golf to recover from injury.

Irish star Clarke, who tweaked his back on the practice ground prior to the first round of the Masters at Augusta earlier this month, thanked Cowen for his help but said he needed a "fresh perspective" on his game.

"After a lean start to the 1999 season I felt I had become a little too bogged down with the technical aspects of the swing and would like to use this time alone to clear my head of some of these thoughts," said Clarke.

"I owe a great deal to Peter, who has certainly taken my game to another level in the two-and-a-half years he has coached me. However, right now I feel I need a fresh perspective on what direction I should take.

"I do not have any pre-conceived ideas about a new coach. I think I will be better working it out for myself for a while."

Former European Tour player Cowen's pupils also include Ryder Cup star Lee Westwood, Ian Garbutt, Paul McGinley and current Order of Merit leader David Howell.

Clarke is missing this week's Spanish Open and will also sit out the national tournaments of Italy and France.

"I would like to stress this is not a major problem," said Clarke, who is taking his enforced break on medical advice.

"There are so many big tournaments coming up in the remainder of the season - not least the Ryder Cup - and I would like to be 100% fit for these, including the defence of my Benson and Hedges International Open title in three weeks' time."

 

TRW