Rickie Fowler on the status of his game heading into 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities: 'I know I'm close'

“It feels like it's obviously always heading the right way in where we've been going. But I know I'm close, it's just not all coming (...)

Rickie Fowler on the status of his game heading into 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities: 'I know I'm close'

BLAINE, Minn. – Rickie Fowler knows he’s going to get to where he wants to be.

“It feels like it’s obviously always heading the right way in where we’ve been going. But I know I’m close, it’s just not all coming together just yet,” Fowler said Wednesday about his continued efforts to polish his swing after a major overhaul. “If you talk to other players or anyone that’s kind of been through some sort of ups and downs, it’s how golf goes, it’s how life goes.

“Sometimes it’s one putt, one swing. It’s been nice over the last few months to finally at least see some more consistency or at least heading in the right direction. So, I’m happy about where we are, but we still have a little way to go to be where we want to be.”

This week, Fowler is making his debut in the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities. His latest confirmation that the swing changes will work out came last Sunday in the final round of the British Open at Royal St. George’s, where he carded a 65. Despite finishing in a tie for 53rd, Fowler said his final momentum from the two days in Sandwich, England, can carry over across the pond.

“Definitely. Got some work in both days. I drove it poorly Friday and Saturday, hit it nice, a very simple round of golf on Sunday,” he said. “I missed one green and it could have been lower, but 5 under is a solid score around there. Feeling good going into this week. Cleaned a few things up; taking a lot from how I played on Sunday and try to go out here and just try and wear out as many fairways and greens as we can.”

Fowler’s struggles certainly wore on him, but he never flinched and abandoned the pursuit. He has gone 50 starts since winning his fifth PGA Tour title in the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. In one stretch, he went 29 starts without a top 10, missed 13 cuts and fell to 128th in the official world rankings, his worst standing since early 2010.

He was encouraged when he tied for eighth in the PGA Championship and then tied for 11th in the Memorial in his next start. But he’s missed the cut in the Travelers, tied for 32nd in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and tied for 53rd in the Open since the Memorial.

Still, he’s no longer thinking swing when he’s between the gallery ropes. Instead, he’s just playing golf.

“Right now, I feel like iron play’s been better. I feel like that’s been heading the right direction,” he said. “Putting as of the last few months has definitely been heading the right way. That was a big part of why I played well at Kiawah (in the PGA) and played decent at Memorial. I think driving the ball can always get better; that sets up everything from hitting fairways and getting yourself opportunities to be aggressive versus playing from the rough, which I did a lot of that on Friday and Saturday at St. George’s.”

This will be Fowler’s third start in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. He lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Richie Ramsay in the 2006 U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine and played very well as the U.S. thumped Europe in the 2016 Ryder Cup, also at Hazeltine.

As for TPC Twin Cities, Fowler played 18 on Tuesday and 9 on Wednesday. Course conditions are supreme and with the hot weather rolling in – temps in the 90s the final three days – the golf ball will fly, and scores will be low.

“Got to make some birdies this week,” he said. “It is gas pedal is on the right, just go out and make birdies.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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After WD last year, Dustin Johnson has unfinished business at the 3M Open

A year ago, Johnson withdrew from the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, citing a back injury after shooting an (...)

After WD last year, Dustin Johnson has unfinished business at the 3M Open

Dustin Johnson has unfinished business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

A year ago, he competed at the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, for the first time and shot an opening-round 78. He withdrew after the round citing stiffness in his back, one week after posting a pair of 80s at The Memorial.

It was a low point for Johnson that proceeded a stellar run of good form that included shooting 30 under a month later in winning the Northern Trust. Then he captured the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup and topped it all off slipping into a Green Jacket at Augusta National in November.

“From here I went home and practiced and got the game in good form,” Johnson explained during his pre-tournament press conference ahead of this week’s 3M Open. “Yeah, obviously went on a great run there. I feel like the game is really close to doing that again.”

Johnson has notched six top-10 finishes so far this season and is coming off a T-8 at the British Open last week. He was in the mix after 36 holes, but blamed a seven-hole stretch on Saturday for costing him from being more than a peripheral figure in the battle for the Claret Jug.

Johnson flew on a chartered flight to Minnesota on Sunday and took Monday off to rest. He’s here, in part, because last year’s hiccup left a bad taste in his mouth. It also didn’t hurt the tournament’s chances of landing the World No. 2 that he withdrew his name from consideration for the U.S. Olympics men’s golf team. That certainly improved the odds that he would make a return visit to the 3M Open this year, but what made the decision an easy one for him?

“It’s a golf course that I felt like it fit my game pretty well,” he said.

Johnson’s game has sputtered since his dominating win at the 2020 Masters. Instead of his first major title since the 2016 U.S. Open opening the floodgates to more major glory, he missed the cut at the Masters in April and the PGA in his home state of South Carolina in May and shot 74 on Sunday to finish T-19 at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June. He also went seven events between top-10 finishes, seemingly an eternity for him, and once again lost the World No. 1 ranking to Jon Rahm. But just as shooting 78 a year ago didn’t slow Johnson down, he’s convinced better golf is right around the corner.

“Things are starting to turn around a little bit. I felt like I haven’t had a great season so far, but I feel like the game, it’s starting to come back into form,” he said. “I feel like the iron and wedge play is what I just haven’t been as sharp with. That’s starting to come around.”

Wedge play in particular is the part of Johnson’s game he worked on to raise it to the next level. He credited his future father-in-law Wayne Gretzky, the hockey legend and father of Johnson’s fiancée Paulina, with instilling in him the importance of hard work.

“Listening to the stories of how hard he used to work, he worked harder than everyone else. Obviously he had a lot of talent and all that, but he put in the work,” Johnson said. “Just because you have the talent doesn’t mean you’re going to be good unless you put in the work and you work as hard if not harder than everyone else.”

Gretzky, in fact, may have been one of the most influential figures in helping Johnson fulfill his great promise.

“I feel like over the past five or six years I’ve definitely kind of stepped up the way I go about things, how I work and training on and off the golf course,” Johnson said. “Yeah, he’s definitely been an influence and it’s definitely helped.”

Johnson is scheduled to tee off on Thursday in one of the featured groups at 8:23 a.m. ET with Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Source : Golf Week More   

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