BETHESDA — Rickie Fowler made the most of missing the cut at the U.S. Open last week and hopes it pays dividends for him during the Quicken Loans National.
The sixth-ranked player in the world has missed the cut in three consecutive tournaments, so on Sunday, he went back to the drawing board with swing coach Butch Harmon, who has helped him revitalize his career before.
After putting that work in, Fowler expects to get some “good stuff” going this week when the event begins at Congressional Country Club on Thursday.
“All of it is just fundamentals, from setup and getting the ball just to start on the line that we’re actually looking and having the flight that we want,” Fowler said.
“One of the main things was my body wasn’t rotating or continuing to rotate through the ball, but also, some of that was caused by not being in the proper position at the top. [We] cleaned a few things up.”
Fowler might have to start in his own head after saying Saturday at Oakmont that confidence was one of his issues.
The 27-year-old said he wasn’t trusting his drives as much as he usually does, and the result was going 11-over and an early exit from the U.S. Open. That dropped him one spot to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking — still leaving him as the top player in the tournament this week — and two spots to No. 26 in the FedExCup standings.
Despite his recent struggles, Fowler said he’s “definitely not concerned” about his play. He cited driving and putting as his two biggest problems.
“Not driving it well and then not able to scramble and make the par putts and then not able to really get into a good rhythm or build momentum through the round — that’s just made it tough to really get off to a good start in tournaments and hence the missed cuts,” he said.
“It’s a fine line, as everyone knows, out here between making a cut and having a chance to be in contention on Sunday to packing your bags and going home early.”
Fowler did that when he played the U.S. Open at Congressional in 2011. He finished second last year in the Quicken Loans National, which is one of three tournaments hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation, though it took place at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia.
His past struggles didn’t dampen his enthusiasm about trying to get his game back at Congressional.
“I’ve always loved the look of the golf course,” Fowler said. “Unfortunately, I just haven’t been able to play well here yet. It’s time to change that.”
On Thursday and Friday, Fowler gets to play with two good friends, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman. Those three, and Jordan Spieth, vacationed together recently at Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas.
Fowler expects some commentary from Spieth watching at home and hopes the camaraderie sparks some better play for the trio.
“It’s going to be fun playing with some of our best buds,” he said. “I definitely think pairings where you’re paired with buddies and you get to go out and feed off each other, it can definitely make a difference.
“So, we’re all excited about it and we just hope we’re feeding off each other with birdies and get everyone going.”
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