The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is unique on the European Tour as it played across three Scottish courses simultaneously
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is unique on the European Tour as it played across three Scottish courses simultaneously Image Credit: European Tour Twitter

I am busy on the driving range here at St Andrews for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.

This is event number 34 of 39 events on the 2021 European Tour season, ending at Jumeirah Golf Estates with the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course next month. Another Race to Dubai is coming to a close.

We all flew back from The Ryder Cup in Wisconsin on Monday and I drove up to Scotland on Tuesday from my Peter Cowen Academy HQ in Rotherham.

It is remarkable how the players adjust back to their tournament routine so quickly after such a tiring week. The Ryder Cup last week is already history for us all. Professional golfers always look forward and only rarely reflect on past successes or otherwise.

I always remember when Bernhard Langer missed that putt on the 18th green versus Hale Irwin in the 1991 edition of the Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island meaning that Europe lost. The very next week Langer won the German Masters in his home country in Stuttgart.

Golfers have to be strong and resilient, both mentally and physically if they are to reach the very top of the game.

This week has a cut after three rounds over three courses: the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns with the final round over the Old Course on Sunday. Some of the talk on the range is around the petrol shortages in especially England.

I never want to get into politics but something feels wrong, especially in the south of England.

Even I am taking 30 minutes to fill up my wagon in Yorkshire, but I am hearing over 2,000 of all the petrol stations in England are closed, due to petrol shortages. I am just glad this week’s event is not in the south of England.

Back to the range and I have seven of my players in this week’s field; Padraig Harrington, Thomas Pieters, Victor Perez, Branden Grace, Danny Willett, Jazz Janewattananond and Scott Crocker (who unfortunately withdrew after twisting his ankle and is having scans).

Willett looks fresh and has played rounds at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns with just one bogey and one double to be in the mix over the last two rounds.

In contract, Pieters should be scoring so much better, but his weakness this week is seven bogeys and a double, which is never getting you near the top of the leaderboard.

Ryder Cup captain Harrington looks shattered and has really struggled but a positive is to see he is off next week to the US to play in the Champions Tour. He seems excited with a new challenge having had a more than decent year, everything considered.

This tournament is a favourite social event for many with celebrity amateurs, family and friends in the field as it has a Pro-Am team format concurrent with the usual 72-hole individual pro format.

I see in the draw that Abdullah Al Naboodah, Mohammad Farooq, and Alan Stanton are all playing. I have not seen them yet, probably because waterproofs are compulsory all week here in October and the winds are up, probably not the weather these Dubai residents are used to, especially on the range.

Finally, Mrs Cowen is back home packing as we prepare for next week’s holiday in Dubai at JA The Resort, Jebel Ali, a favourite for the Cowen family.

It has been two-and-a-half years since our last proper holiday, long overdue.

I am not always the best to just sit around and relax, but I am sure all my players will not respect my holiday time and still send all their swings by video from all over the world. These days you can never get away from everything, but then again, I would not want it any other way.

Dubai here we come!