PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Two keys off the tee have contributed to Rickie Fowler’s recent resurgence: shorten the club and start aiming left.
Fowler has taken a page from his friend and fellow Butch Harmon disciple Jimmy Walker, who debuted a shorter driver to start the year in Maui. Fowler’s model in play at this week’s Honda Classic is 43 ½ inches, a full inch shorter than his usual model.
Fowler began tinkering with new drivers prior to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he finished T-4. He kept it in the bag this week at PGA National and now will take a four-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton into the final round.
“An inch shorter doesn’t sound like a lot shorter, but anyone in golf, you know that an inch is a lot,” Fowler said. “I don’t know if it’s perfect. I don’t know if it’s the last driver I’m going to play or we’re going to do some more testing and see where we can go with it, but it’s definitely been nice this week.”
The other aspect that has changed off the tee for Fowler has been his ball flight. After predominantly hitting a fade during the 2014 season where he contended at all four majors, he began to incorporate a draw last year in order to correct an issue he saw with his swing plane. Now he’s back to shaping the ball left-to-right, and the comfort level is reminiscent to the one he enjoyed three years ago.
“That’s golf. You’re always kind of trying to go back and forth and just be in that happy medium spot,” he said. “We’re definitely in a good position right now.”