Top swing coach Jamie Gough 'going to be a Fifer'
“I’m building up in Pittenweem, so I’m going to be a Fifer,” reported Gough, who proudly declares himself as being “half-Scottish, half-South African” on the basis of his father, Charlie, being a Scot coupled with growing up in South Africa.
“I was always going to gravitate towards Scotland with my dad and Richard,” he added of the former Dundee United, Tottenham, Rangers and Everton defender who played 61 times for Scotland. “Every time I drive over the Queensferry Crossing these days, I feel I’m at home and that’s going to be my future.”
Gough would like to get involved with Scottish Golf at some point in the future to help develop amateur talent, but, for now, his days travelling the world and living out of a suitcase are certainly not over.
In recent weeks, the 56-year-old has watched Ferguson and another of his pupils, New Zealander Ryan Fox, both land title triumphs on the DP World Tour, where his passion and enthusiasm to try and help players get the best out of their games is as strong as ever.
“That’s 24 wins, the first of which was delivered by James Kingston back in 2007,” said Gough, who worked with two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal at one time, as well as his fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, while he also currently coaches David Drysdale, Andy Sullivan, Joost Luiten, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnson, Justin Walters and Matthieu Pavon.
Gough, who represented South Africa as a junior before turning professional at 18 then turning his attention to coaching, linked up with Ferguson towards the end of last season as the Scot was on his way to graduating from the Challenge Tour.
In just his sixth start on the top tour as full card holder, the 25-year-old from Bearsden finished eagle-birdie-par in testing conditions at Doha Golf Club to join Andrew Coltart and Paul Lawrie as winners of the Qatar event.
“Tremendous, absolutely,” said Gough of Ferguson’s feat. “You know what, we made a few swing changes over the last year. We got his swing flight more consistent, but he’s that talented that it’s more a case of me being a support structure for him out on tour.
“I’m just guiding him more than anything else. We’ve tidied up little areas of his game, but, from what I’d heard about him before I started working with him and also since I started working with him, he’s a massive talent.
“It’s no surprise to me that he’s catching up and overtaking some of his peers. People have touted him for a long time.”
Three weeks before becoming the fifth Scot in three years to make the breakthrough in their 20s, Ferguson had squandered a four-shot lead in the final round of the Magical Kenya Open. That stung, but he vowed to learn from the disappointment and wasted no time proving that he had.
“It shows you a lot about his character that he managed to overcome what happened in Kenya quite quickly,” said Gough. “It’s quite funny as he had a bad Sunday the following week at Pecanwood in South Africa and we spoke about that.
“I said to him, ‘don’t try too hard on a Sunday’. If you shoot one-under par on a Sunday, I’ll be delighted. He then shot two-under on the Sunday at Steyn City and we tried to do the same thing at the weekend.
“It’s about not putting yourself under pressure and trying to keep yourself in the frame. I think it’s been a case that he was going out on a Sunday and trying too hard to shoot low and that’s sometimes not necessarily the case.”
Gough set up a chain of golf schools in South Africa after deciding that his career would be in coaching rather than playing, but his office these days is the practice area at DP World Tour events. A familiar face on the circuit, Ferguson sought him out as he looked to try and take his game to the next level.
“I think we’ve struck a good rapport on the tour,” said Gough, who coached the South African side at the World Amateur Team Championship, of the former British and Scottish Boys’ champion.
“It’s not a case of changing things; it’s a case of reinforcing the good stuff and having me there gives him a little bit of confidence as well knowing that if things do go a little bit off the rails I am there to settle him down.”
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