Rickie Fowler talks inconsistent journey as 10th anniversary of first PGA Tour victory approaches

What were you doing ten years ago? In 2012, the iPhone 5 was released to the public, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” passed the Billboard 100 and I was struggling to surpass AP Physics. Rickie Fowler, on the other hand, was busy making it for his first career win on the PGA Tour.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Fowler’s dramatic playoff triumph at the Wells Fargo Championship. Just 23 at the time, the young phenomenon who rocked limp hair and bright orange from head to toe got the better of Rory McIlroy and DA Points at Quail Hollow Golf Club. The proverbial doors were thought to have opened. for the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, as the heavy expectations were finally met, but they weren’t. Fowler would fight for the rest of 2013, collecting only one spot in the top five on the PGA Tour.

Things began to settle down the following year, when Fowler became the first player since Vijay Singh in 2005 to finish in the top five of every major league without actually winning one. A rare distinction that not all players would appreciate wearing, Fowler took it to the pitch, choosing to see the bright side of the situation. Fast forward to the present day, and Fowler is still doing a lot, albeit under very different circumstances.

Currently 146th in the official world golf ranking, Fowler arrives at TPC Potomac for this year’s Wells Fargo championship looking for something far more important than his first career win; he is looking for trust.

“For me, yes, there have been times where it’s been tough when it comes to trust, but I feel we’ve had a lot of good times over the past six months to know it’s still there,” Fowler told Garrett Johnston on the podcast. Beyond the Clubhouse. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as consistent as we would like it to be. But I keep looking at the glass half full and moving on.”

Fowler’s fights were public, as he underwent swing changes and employed the help of coach John Tillery. Since the beginning of 2020, he has only registered two top five places on the PGA Tour, both in limited fields. Despite the lack of sustained quality in the game of him, Fowler remains committed to the process.

“I definitely feel like I’m headed in the right direction. It’s been a tough couple of years trying to get over things and work on some changes and I feel comfortable in the end,” he said. “Yes, I’d say I’m still disappointed. Of course I want to see better results and be in a better position, but that’s only part of the process and I have to move on.”

From the outside, looking inside, nothing went right for Fowler in 2022 – five of the eight cuts are missing and he can’t find the top 40 in any rankings – but a closer look at his numbers reveals that his hard work is slowly coming to an end. The new father has seen a rise in his iron game since January, earning approaching shots in six of eight starts, including the last three. He ranks in the top 10 in this field of the Wells Fargo championship in terms of proximity from 175 to 200 yards, confirming that his center irons have been cooperating for the past three months.

Goal clubs are solid, however, and his former strength in putting has become his greatest weakness. Golf has often been described as rotating plates. With all the focus on Fowler’s fill, the five-time PGA Tour winner left the putter unattended and subsequently crashed to the ground, shattering into a thousand pieces.

Fowler went to TPC Potomac on Tuesday for a round of practice alongside Morgan Hoffman, Peter Uihlein and current Oklahoma State cowboy Eugenio Chacarra. His iron game seemed crisp, but his pace on the greens was suspicious at best. Throughout the year he experimented with new putter models, new heads, moving from the style of the hammer to the traditional blade in search of answers.

The 33-year-old is likely to miss the FedEx Cup playoffs for the second consecutive summer, as he is firmly leveled for more than half of the season. Perhaps 133rd in a season’s race, perhaps Fowler will draw a pinch of confidence from his previous T3 and T12 arrivals in the shadow of our nation’s capital and push himself into the long summer of PGA Tour golf.

“I probably have the best understanding of my swing, trends and causes of what now more than I ever have, but that doesn’t mean it will suddenly work,” Fowler said. “It’s still a very difficult and humbling game, so having understanding is one thing, but being able to go out there and execute and do it consistently is the next step, but I feel we’re in a good position and heading into it. towards that direction. “

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