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 (...)
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.
A Sunday 65 for @RickieFowler
What would the leaders give for this round later? #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/AK6Qm48Gbf
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 18, 2021
“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.”