Rickie Fowler burst onto the scene in 2010 with his brightly colored clothing (and sophisticated marketing hustle), and quirky, unorthodox swing that hopefully no youths were mimicking. It appears that after a disappointing 2013, Rickie has made some swing changes. As Golf Digest reported, Rickie has been working with Butch Harmon since December. First impression is that the swing changes are very, very good. Whether that translates back to his successful ways is obviously to be seen, but he’s built a foundation for a much more repeatable swing.
Fowler posted the following video on Instagram today:
Before the video even starts to play, you can tell his setup is different than anything we’ve seen from him before, and once he swings, it’s obvious he’s been in the lab doing some work. Here is an example of his swing from Pebble Beach in 2012:
Granted, we’re comparing an a 7 iron vs. what appears to be a 3 wood or hybrid, but the set up change is very evident. Standing much closer to the ball with his hands higher, and in a much more athletic stance.
These images are from slightly different angles, and again, with different sized clubs, but his hands are noticeably higher, and he’s standing much closer to the ball.
This is where you can really see the changes. Rickie was famous for his loopy, rerouted swing, where he took the club way outside, and on his transition, rerouted the club back to the inside. This made it very difficult to get the club on plane, and to get it to a decent position at the top. The new swing shows the club going back on a near perfect plane, with the clubface remaining square rather than shot. Great start.
At the Top:
Another great improvement. Shoulders are turned slightly more, perfect plane with the left arm, and a wrist that matches the left arm, vs. a cup wrist and high position in 2012. He appears to be in a perfect spot to begin the downswing.
With the club in a better position at the top, less “looping” is needed to begin the downswing, and Fowler appears to come directly down the line at the ball, rather than looping the club back to the inside. Again, great position.
In summary, Rickie’s swing changes appear to be textbook, and in my opinion, much needed. I have no clue when he began making these changes, and how far along he is in the process, but what he’s building will likely lead him to much more consistency that he’s had in the past. His previous swing was simply built too much on timing, and too difficult to predict how his body would react to different types of pressure situations. Let’s hope he sticks with the process even if he has some struggles coming out of the gate.
UPDATE: Nick Faldo breaks down the swing changes for Rickie during the Humana: