The graduate of Oklahoma State University may be famous for his bright orange outfits reminiscent of his alma mater jersies, but Rickie Fowler is also one of American golf’s most exciting young golfing talents. Perhaps most remarkable, is that the Californian is almost entirely self-taught.
His time spent practising alone on the range paid dividends as his natural talent shone through at high school and at OSU. As an amateur he appeared in two Walker Cup events, turning professional after the second of these in 2009.
He quickly joined the pro ranks signing deals with Puma (clothing) and Titleist (clubs and balls). His exciting style of play, never say die attitude, and competitive spirit have already earmarked him as a future great.
Yet Fowler awaits to turn this promise into on-the-course success. He still only has one victory as a professional, in the Kolon Korea Open in October this year, in which defeated a strong field, including Rory McIlroy, by six strokes.
Rickie though is probably best known for his performance at the 2010 Ryder Cup after being four down after 14 holes, Fowler produced some of the finest golf seen that week in Wales when he birdied the last four holes to earn a half point for the US team.
With a bright career ahead of him, and a fifth place finish at last year’s British Open, 2012 looks like the year Rickie Fowler starts tickling the top of the leaderboard. Here the clubs he will likely do that with.
The Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5 degrees C1 setting
From the tee, Rickie is one of the longest 25 hitters on the PGA Tour, averaging just under 300 yards per drive. He drives the ball, on average, roughly the same distance as fellow tour pros Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and Zack Miller.
If there is an area of his driving game he can improve upon, it is accuracy. Rickie ranked 157th on tour in hitting fairways from the tee with 56.7% of his drives landing on the short grass. He needs to improve this figure to secure that breakthrough win on the PGA Tour.
Fairway Woods/Hybrids: Titleist 910F 13.5 degrees
Adams Pro Black Hybrid 16 or 20 degrees
Fowler’s play with his wood or hybrid club is a particularly strong aspect of his game. He ranked 9th on the tour for birdies when hitting an approach shot of 200+ yards. He recorded 99 birdies of this type during the season. Fowler elects which hybrid to put in his bag, the 16 degree loft or 20 degree loft depending on course and local conditions and its interesting to see that he elects to play an Adams hybrid, rather than use one of his sponsors fairway 5-woods.
Irons 4 to 9: Titleist MB 4-9 712 Prototype
Fowler’s iron play is particularly strong. He recorded 44 birdies when approaching the green from between 150-175 yards this year and ranked tied 14th with Martin Laird in this category. Like his fairway wood and hybrid play, Rickie’s iron play is certainly good enough to have him in contention most weeks.
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C 47, 51, 55, 59 degrees
Fowler is one of the modern band of professionals who sacrifice a long iron, fairway wood or second hybrid in order to put an extra wedge in the bag. Fowler usually carries four wedges, ranging from 47 degree loft, to 59 and it certainly suits his game.
This season, He was tied 10th on tour from approaches from less than 100 yards, landing the ball on average around 30 feet 7” from the hole.
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 Deep Mill #3
Once again, the statistics do not lie and Rickie certainly has the game on the green to make 2012 a year to remember. He ranked seventh on tour in putts per round stats, with an average of just 28.35 putts per round this year.
Golf ball: Titleist ProV1x
It’s no surprise that with Titleist as his main sponsor, Rickie chooses to play the ProV1x. Indeed six out of the top seven putters on tour in 2011, Kevin Na, Greg Chalmers, Steve Stricker, Luke Donald, Brian Gay and Rickie himself, all play the popular ball.
Images by Keith Allison