Rickie Fowler switches putters in search for confidence
Former PLAYERS champ is using TaylorMade putter for first time
February 23, 2022
By GolfWRX , PGATOUR.COM
- February 23, 2022
- Rickie Fowler put a new putter in the bag at The Genesis Invitational last week. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)
When your confidence takes a hit on the greens, sometimes all it takes is a new putter to shake things up.
It’s no secret that five-time PGA TOUR winner Rickie Fowler has struggled on the greens in recent years after using that club to his advantage during some of his most successful seasons.
He led the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting in 2017 and gained strokes on the greens in all but one of his first 11 seasons on TOUR. His performance in that metric has dropped precipitously, however. He ranked 126th last year – losing strokes for the first time since 2012 -- and has dropped to 205th (out of 216 players) this season.
As he told GolfWRX on Tuesday ahead of the 2022 Honda Classic, though, he’s trying to “switch up the mojo a bit.” Fowler has switched between different Scotty Cameron and Cobra putters recently, but at last week’s The Genesis Invitational, Fowler used a TaylorMade putter for the first time in competition.
The 2015 PLAYERS Champion opted for a blacked-out TaylorMade Spider GT with a single white sightline on the crown and a short slant hosel. The new, recently released Spider GT putter design from TaylorMade is noteworthy for its winged-shape, multi-material construction and perimeter weighting, which is meant to boost forgiveness and improve consistency.
There are two weights on the back of the wings featured on the new putter. (GolfWRX)
Although some may believe that every equipment decision on the PGA TOUR is ultra-calculated, Fowler’s change last week was less complicated. Ahead of the The Genesis Invitational, he simply approached a TaylorMade staff bag full of new putter options on the practice green at The Riviera Country Club and started checking them out.
“I was hitting putts on one of the greens and they have the bags set up, and I looked at a few different things because I was just not hitting some great putts,” Fowler told GolfWRX. “I looked at a few of the different necks and different sight lines. … The longer line that’s on there right now seemed to be the one, and the small neck just sat clean. It looked nice and was really easy to line up.”
A closer look at the neck and sight line on Fowler's new flat stick. (GolfWRX)
Fowler was searching for a different look to freshen things up and get that old feeling back, but it seems he knows not to place too much emphasis on the putter itself. It’s really more of an internal battle.
“Really, from what I’ve seen, whatever I’ve hit – any putter – if you make a good stroke, it’s going to go in,” Fowler said. “I just needed to switch up the mojo a little bit and have a different look. I hit a couple putts on the practice putting green last week, and (the Spider GT) was just kind of lining up easy and starting on line.
“I’ve always been a good putter, it’s something I’ve always just, not necessarily been able to just rely on, but take advantage when I’ve hit it close or help save rounds by making putts. But, unfortunately over the last couple years, it’s not necessarily been there. So, everyone makes great stuff. It’s been fun working with Cobra on the new putter line there, and yeah, I just wanted a different look and try and switch up the mojo a bit.”
Right now, coming off a T55 at The Genesis Invitational, Fowler is happy with his stroke in a vacuum, but he’s working on matching up his reads with confident strokes on the course.
“The stroke’s fine,” said Fowler, who ranks 75th in the FedExCup. “It’s more about the confidence and then trusting that I either have the right read, or getting the right read. Sometimes I feel I’ve been a little off on reads and so it doesn’t matter what you do there, you’re not going to make it. And then, sometimes I do have the right read and not trusting it…you throw me on a flat surface with no hole there and I’m just hitting putts, I’m going to make great strokes and I’m going to start the balls on line. But obviously things change when you start to throw in outside elements. If I’m not reading the green properly, it doesn’t matter how good the stroke is.”
Heading into the Florida swing, Fowler is confident in his abilities on Bermudagrass putting greens, like those at PGA National.
“It’ll be good to be back on Bermuda greens that I’ve putted a lot more on over the last 10-15 years,” said Fowler, who lives in South Florida and won The Honda Classic in 2017.A detailed look at the sole on Fowler's new putter. (GolfWRX)