Rickie Fowler has learned what can't be taught
Rickie Fowler's view of the golf swing comes down to this: What he doesn't know can't hurt him, and what little he does know works. Fowler, who had two top-five finishes through February in his first full season on the PGA Tour, is basically self-taught, except for some sessions with local pro Barry McDonnell. Growing up in Murrieta, Calif., Fowler, now 21, had no golf hero and emulated no one. He has never read an instruction book ("I did look at the cool drawings in that Ben Hogan book," he says) or even examined his fluid, blurry-fast swing on video. The result is a freewheeling move that's a screaming denunciation of the mechanical methods of the previous era.
"There are several young players coming up who've learned to play their own way," says teacher Jim McLean. "Rickie might be the best of them, and he's clearly one of the best ball-strikers on tour already. I haven't helped Rickie with his swing, but I offered him one bit of advice when I met him a couple of years ago. I told him to never, ever let anyone change his swing."
The driver is the best part of Fowler's long game. His flattish, lashing swing produces enormous length, and his misses are seldom severe. His lone swing thought: Catch the ball on the sweet spot.
"I love the long, firm tracks, the harder the better," Fowler says. "I wouldn't mind if they all were like Royal County Down [where he won three matches in the 2007 Walker Cup]. But whatever the course, I'm ready to go."