Fowler won the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship and has added four further PGA Tour titles since, but he is without a win since 2019 and is currently world No 146 after registering two top 10s in his last 48 worldwide starts
Last Updated: 04/05/22 11:20am
Rickie Fowler insists a return to form is just “a matter of time”, despite heading into the Wells Fargo Championship in the worst slump of his career.
This week’s event at TPC Potomac marks the tenth anniversary of Fowler’s breakthrough PGA Tour victory, where he defeated Rory McIlroy and DA Points in a play-off at Quail Hollow to win the first of five titles.
Fowler has made four Ryder Cup appearances and featured on three Presidents Cup-winning teams during a distinguished career that has seen him reach a career-high of world No 4, although is without a win since the 2019 WM Phoenix Open and in danger of dropping out of the world’s top 150.
The former Players champion showed signs of a return to form with a tied-third finish at the CJ Cup in October, won by McIlroy, although has missed five cuts and finished no higher than a share of 40th in his 10 starts since that performance in Las Vegas.
“It has obviously been a long and tough road but I’m continuing to move forward,” Fowler told Golf Channel ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship. “Life is great outside of golf, so I’m enjoying that part.
“I’m just continuing to grind and pushing it with the golf. We’re seeing the right things and it’s just a matter of time before everything stars to click.”
Fowler wasn’t in the field for The Players in March, seven years on from winning the PGA Tour’s flagship event at TPC Sawgrass, with the American also failing to qualify for The Masters for the first time since 2010.
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The 33-year-old’s only guaranteed major start in 2022 is at this month’s PGA Championship, based on his tied-eighth finish in last year’s contest rather than current form, which is a stark decline for a player who has enjoyed three runner-up finishes and 12 top-10s in his length major career.
“There’s a lot of things going well in Rickie Fowler’s life, but between the ropes isn’t one of those things right now,” journalist Eamon Lynch told Golf Channel. “His exemption status for the biggest championships in the game is very thin at this point.
“It’s very hard for him to find that glass half-full attitude when you look at the drop off in numbers that really matter. The ball-striking is considerably worse than it was a few years ago and he’s 184th on Tour for putting.
“There is neglect perhaps with the putter. It’s not functioning to the extent that it did, but nor is any other part of the game right now. The attitude is still good, but at a certain point it has to be corrosive to the attitude when you’re not seeing the results for the work you’re putting in.”
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Fowler’s swing has undergone extensive change since beginning work with John Tillery in 2019, with former coach Butch Harmon saddened by his ex-student’s fall from the top of world golf.
“In all honesty, it’s hard for me to watch him now,” Harmon told the Stirkers and Radar Uncut podcast. “We had such great success from the middle of 2013 until 2019, when I retired from the Tour.
“It seems like all the work we did, trying to change the swing to get the left arm up on plane instead of so flat, that he has kind of thrown that out. I don’t really have a chance to talk Rickie very often and haven’t seen him.
“He’s a great kid. He was always up there around the top 10 in the world and now to see him below 100 in the world is hard to look at, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out.”
Watch the Wells Fargo Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins with Featured Groups on Thursday from 11.45am on Sky Sports Golf.