Fowler also has made switches to his driver and 3-wood
January 19, 2023
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler gifted a drawing from young fan at The American Express
Rickie Fowler is making his first start of the calendar year at this week’s The American Express, and he showed up in La Quinta, California, with some major changes to his equipment setup.
Fowler switched into Cobra’s new Aerojet driver and 3-wood and also has a new putter in his bag, one that is a replica of the model used by his caddie, Ricky Romano.
Fowler experimented with multiple putters last season and it seems the putter trials have continued into the new year. This latest switch came after Fowler picked up Romano’s putter last Sunday and hit a few putts with the flatstick. It was different than anything Fowler had used in practice or competition, but Fowler took such a liking to Romano’s Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter that he wanted one for himself.
So Fowler put in a request Monday with Joe Toulon, Callaway’s PGA TOUR manager and former Odyssey Tour rep, for something similar to Romano’s putter. Toulon came back to Fowler with a fresh Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter, equipped with a SuperStroke Tour 3.0 17-inch grip, and 20-25 grams of lead tape on the sole, according to Toulon.
Although it has a longer grip, it’s not an armlock, belly or broomstick putter. Fowler is not anchoring the grip to his forearm, chest, or stomach. He’s still using his normal grip technique, stance and stroke but the counter-balanced setup has helped Fowler simplify things.
“I’ve been, over the last few years, not putting how I’m used to, or how I want to by any means,” said Fowler, who ranked 161st in Strokes Gained: Putting last season. “Some of it, confidence wise, not having the same feel I’ve always had. The right hand, not making confident strokes. And, I wasn’t necessarily searching. I’ve been grinding and working on my normal stuff.
“I was very shocked, because I never really looked into anything that was longer, counterbalanced, or anything like that. … It’s very interesting, but it’s kind of freeing me up in a way. I’m not changing stroke-wise, or setup, not gripping anything differently than my normal length putter. I just feel like it’s, I don’t know, kind of helping me do some things, and I don’t have to think about it.”
Fowler also touched on a couple other topics during his interview with GolfWRX. Here’s a few other items he touched on:
On his new driver and 3-wood: Fowler employed a Cobra King LTDx LS driver and a RAD Speed Big Tour 3-wood for most of last season.
He started testing Cobra’s new Aerojet drivers and fairway woods a couple months ago, however, and said he found significant improvements to forgiveness, in particular. He’s putting the new Aerojet products into play for his 2023 debut after having ample time to test and gain comfort.
“I mean, ultimately, I wouldn’t put the driver and 3-wood in if I didn’t think they were better,” Fowler explained. “Obviously it’s always something that we try and get in new product, but I was happy with what I had. I was playing last year’s driver, and a 3-wood from a couple years ago, but the new 3-wood was, I felt, a little more forgiving sometimes with a little toe miss. … The Aerojet 3-wood I felt it was a little more stable, but very similar flight characteristics, just a little more forgiving, so that was a nice bonus.
“The driver, pretty similar. I felt the numbers were a bit tighter from the low-to-top end of the face, not as spinny on some misses, and the spin didn’t drop too much on some higher-on-the-face hits. With that, a little tighter with dispersion, left and right. Then I actually went up about a half-degree (in loft) from where I was. The LS is a fairly low-spinning head, which has been great for me.
“Being able to go to something that has a little bit more loft, that can definitely help with the side-to-side dispersion, because once you go down to loft, you can get the ones that kind of squirt right or knuckle left. Loft is your friend if you can have it.”
On the status of his swing after reuniting with Butch Harmon: Fowler reunited with former swing coach Butch Harmon last September after several years working with John Tillery. Fowler arrives at The American Express after showing some promising signs in the fall. He ranks 26th in the FedExCup after a T6 at the season-opening Fortinet Championship and runner-up in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.
“(I) played through the fall and had some success,” Fowler said, “but it was still at that point of trying to exaggerate (the swing changes), and I didn’t feel super comfortable. It feels a lot more comfortable now.
“I would say it’s kind of a combo of everything that I learned from Tillery the last few years, and getting some feedback from Butch, just being back talking with him a lot just the last few months, and so just kind of finding my own feels to do what needs to be done and ultimately help clean things up. … I still have to exaggerate some stuff on the range, and when I’m working on things, but it feels a lot more comfortable now than when I was playing in the fall.”
On Gary Woodland joining him on Cobra’s staff: In last week’s PGA TOUR Equipment Report, we highlighted Gary Woodland’s newly-announced equipment deal with Cobra. This week, we caught up with Fowler, who’s a current and longtime Cobra staffer, to get his thoughts on the news.
“Yeah, Gary’s great,” Fowler said. “We play a little bit when we’re home down at South Florida. He lives a little South of Jupiter. We had him with Puma already, but to have him as fully part of the team now with the clubs, with Cobra, I know he’s enjoyed it. He really likes the stuff – the irons, I know he’s really liked the woods. … And then once he’s been able to put everything else in, he was excited to get going.”