PGA – HAS RICKIE FOWLER REACHED HIS CAREER MAX POTENTIAL?

With 3 wins including the prestigious The Players Championship and a 5th place end of year World Ranking, Rickie Fowler had the best year of his professional life in 2015.

Before last season, the 27 year-old had only 1 career victory during his previous 5 years combined on Tour and only reached #10 in the rankings (2014).

Fowler’s breakout year is likely the result of his 2 year partnership with “the world’s top golf teacher” Butch Harmon.

While Fowler has always had enough talent to rank in the world’s top 40, even during his rookie season, he felt like he was “standing still” after 4 years on tour. He hired Harmon in early 2014 to help bring his game to the next level and contend at the majors.

Fowler said of his work with Harmon: “It’s just basically taking what I have and cleaning it up and making it the best it can be.”

And, Harmon had an immediate effect. During the 2014 season, Fowler had his best performances at the majors finishing top 5 in all 4, including runner-up in the US & British Opens.

Fowler did not contend in any majors in 2015 (Masters – T12; US Open – MC; The Open – T30; PGA – T30), but obviously had a stellar year otherwise and his statistics are the best in his career.

So, the question remains for Fowler going forward: What does he have to do to win a major?

Unfortunately for Fowler, his playing prime is occurring simultaneously with several other young elite counterparts who have already achieved the success he seeks (Spieth, Day, McIlroy, Rose etc.).

It seems that Fowler still needs to kick it up another notch to win a major.

In looking at his statistics, Fowler has always been an all-around good ball striker before working with Butch Harmon, despite the obvious lack of ability to hit the ball over 300 yards on average.

His stats have improved, especially in total driving and putting:

Rickie Fowler PGA Rank or % per year on Tour full-time
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
World Golf Ranking 34 17 31 33 10 5
Driving Distance 292.7 299.5 293.2 286.4 297.5 296.8
Driving Accuracy 64.19% 56.70% 64.43% 62.27% 59.93% 62.10%
Total Driving 133 87 15 98 42 22
Greens in Regulation 69.90% 64.47% 64.99% 63.59% 64.51% 65.81%
Ball Striking 46 108 48 117 66 58
Birdie Ave 76 6 72 59 14 17
Eagles 31 10 61 25 48 15
Strokes Gained Tee to Grn 37 46 37 59 48 26
Scrambling 66 139 106 56 17 47
Sand Save % 164 124 89 16 70 34
Strokes Gained Putting 78 31 139 24 37 35
Total Putting 72 25 111 14 15 5
Overall Putting 146 89 136 27 16 4
Birdie or Better Conversion % 110 6 65 43 11 14
Score Ave 41 20 67 28 30 21
Wins* (Including Euro Tour) 0 0 1 0 0 3*

Yet, given this improvement under the tutelage of Harmon, Fowler still hasn’t been able to get it done.

Instead, perhaps it’s time for Fowler to focus on obtaining a higher level of mental strength, toughness, and maturity.

Like Jason Day did in 2015, he won his first major by going to another level mentally.

I think this will also be the key for Fowler to obtain the greatness that could lie within him.

If not, I fear that he has reached his career max potential, or at least is coming very close.

Only time will tell.

 



Source : PGA Tour

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