Yorkshire-based PGA professional Michael Walker is set to make his bow at The US Masters tournament as coach to Tour ace Thomas Bjorn.
Walker is director of instruction at PGA Master Professional Pete Cowen’s Rotherham academy where between them they keep an expert eye on the finely tuned swings of Bjorn plus several other world stars including Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson and Darren Clarke.
The 33-year-old admits the prospect of driving down Magnolia Lane at Augusta for the first time will be a special moment, having spent the best part of the last quarter of a century watching the action unfold on TV.
“I have dreamed of going to the US Masters since I was a kid. Ideally I wanted to play but to go there as a coach is pretty good too,” he said.
Walker’s early Masters memories are tied up in one of the purple patches in British golf as Sir Nick Faldo secured back to back triumphs in 1989 and 1990.
“Faldo made a huge impression although I watched it even before that when Seve was playing. It will be strange to finally be there having seen it on TV all these years,” he added.
Walker was a talented golfer himself playing at both county and national level where he was coached by Cowen but he gave up game at 18 after struggling with his putting.
He subsequently switched focus, gaining a degree in languages (French and Spanish) and ended up employed in London in export finance for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
But the lure of golf was not quite extinguished and at 25 and fed up with wishing five days a week away, Walker put in a call to his old mentor Cowen, who invited Walker to come and work with him and do his PGA training.
Walker hasn’t looked back and has thrown himself into his coaching career culminating in a visit to one of golf’s most iconic events.
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Free image attached for use with this release of PGA professional Michael Walker (left) with Thomas Bjorn courtesy of Andrew Redington at Getty Images…/