Swing Analysis: Rickie Fowler’s “Minor Changes”

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

Ricky Fowler has decided that if he is to be a great player he can’t do it on his own and he can’t do it with the swing he grew up with, and that he needs the help of Butch Harmon to enable him to achieve his goals. Ricky brought the new swing to Torrey Pines and we have a nice shot of a 4 iron to compare with Fowler’s 2010 swing. Fowler has missed both cuts this year, and before the Arizona tournament he was interviewed by a local magazine. Here are some interesting quotes made when asked about the changes he was working on with Harmon: “Just taking what I have and tuning it and cleaning it up and making it the best that it can be. I’ve never been a player where I’ve been very mechanical or anything like that, so I wouldn’t say it’s any major swing changes, just taking what I have and cleaning it up and making it consistent and more repeatable”. “As far as the basics, cleaning up the takeaway, getting myself started in the right position, trying to shorten up the backswing. My tendency is to get a little long and the club gets stuck behind me. So very minor things.”
Huh? Really? If anyone takes a look at this video and says “oh yeah, just minor changes, no big deal” I would be surprised. The changes in the backswing are huge. It is totally different, and since it was idiosyncratic to begin with you can guess that the idea to “fix” it would be to make it conventional. I would say “be careful when you mess with a talent oriented swing”. Fowler knows what his swing does and he is a wonderful player. His move is all his own and he is making a nice living. It seems that 4 years is too long to wait to be amongst the greats, so he is going to tear it down (and trust me, when you change any backswing this much the rest of it just begins to feel totally new) while pretending that he is not making “any major changes”. Yikes. If he believes that he’s not as smart as I thought he was. And as you will see here, half a new swing and half and old swing don’t balance out very well and unintended technical consequences are bound to happen. And they do. One thing is for sure: this will be interesting to watch. Fowler may be good enough to actually do well with this but I would say that the probability is low. And the other thing that I am saying is that I don’t know if Butch Harmon has the chops to help Fowler if it gets complicated. I like Fowler and hope he succeeds, but I have a bad feeling about this. As soon as somebody hears that he is “going back to his old swing” please let me know.

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(6) comments

Clinton February 13, 2014

Fowler’s words of downplaying the swing changes sound like a strategy to handle the media. Openly pronouncing that he’s making some big changes would open him up to even greater scrutiny. Every missed cut or lackluster result would be followed by questions from the Golf Channel and other media outlets asking why in the world he is changing his swing in the first place. Just look at how Tiger’s swing changes have been “received” by the media before Tiger had completely grooved them. With Ricky, the media as usual would imply that golf is a feel game, not a technical one, and that trust is more important than mechanics. So at least for awhile, Fowler’s downplaying of the scale of the swing changes buys a buffer zone from the media until the changes “kick in” and produce some good results.

Justin February 13, 2014

why is the shaft steepening now? Im sure his pivot action is the same and he has always dropped his hands

Lawrence February 15, 2014

Great video. When I first saw Fowlers swing 3 years ago and the way he played I thought a lot of Wadkins and some of the great hand players. These technical gurus will mess with natural ability because the players want the edge not knowing they already have the Golf Gods edge. You know this guy just plays and knows how to get the ball from point A into the cup with course strategy. I agree with you Wayne. I have been to technical the past few years myself and this may not bode well. I wish anyone out their grinding the best and I think Fowler is wise enough to know before he goes down a blind alley to stick to the lady that accompanied him to the dance. Tweak some OK, but what I just saw was major. Glad the hair is cut. Now lose the disco clothes.

russ aragon February 23, 2014

Nice WD! It looks like his post up on his right leg has gotten better, Ricky is bombing it in the match play this week in the final 4, let’s se how it turns out.

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