Rickie Fowler is making his first start of the calendar year at this week’s The American Express, and he showed up in La Quinta, California, with some major changes to his equipment setup.
Fowler switched into Cobra’s new Aerojet driver and 3-wood and also has a new putter in his bag, one that is a replica of the model used by his caddy, Ricky Romano.
Fowler experimented with multiple putters last season and it seems the putter trials have continued into the new year. This latest switch came after Fowler picked up Romano’s putter last Sunday and hit a few putts with the flatstick. It was different than anything Fowler had used in practice or competition, but Fowler took such a liking to Romano’s Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter that he wanted one for himself.
So Fowler put in a request Monday with Joe Toulon, Callaway’s PGA TOUR manager and former Odyssey Tour rep, for something similar to Romano’s putter. Toulon came back to Fowler with a fresh Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter, equipped with a SuperStroke Tour 3.0 17-inch grip, and 20-25 grams of lead tape on the sole, according to Toulon.
Although it has a longer grip, it’s not an armlock, belly or broomstick putter. Fowler is not anchoring the grip to his forearm, chest, or stomach. He’s still using his normal grip technique, stance and stroke, but the counter-balanced setup has helped Fowler simplify things.
“I’ve been, over the last few years, not putting how I’m used to, or how I want to by any means,” said Fowler, who ranked 161st in Strokes Gained. Putting last season. “Some of it, confidence wise, not having the same feeling I’ve always had. The right hand, not making confident strokes. And, I wasn’t necessarily searching. I’ve been grinding and working on my normal stuff.
“I was very shocked, because I never really looked into anything that was longer, counterbalanced, or anything like that. … It’s very interesting, but it’s kind of freeing me up in a way. I’m not changing stroke-wise, or setup, not gripping anything differently than my normal length putter. I just feel like it’s, I don’t know, kind of helping me do some things, and I don’t have to think about it.”
Fowler also touched on a couple of other topics during his interview with GolfWRX. Here’s a few other items he touched on.
On his new driver and 3-wood. Fowler employed a Cobra King LTDx LS driver and a RAD Speed Big Tour 3-wood for most of last season.