Whether he likes it or not, Rickie Fowler has picked up a new swing coach. It’s his younger sister Taylor, who was happy to offer advice and instruction before his final round at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Taylor, 20, was already in Atlanta awaiting her big brother’s arrival there for the PGA Championship when she texted him Saturday night to tell him to knock off the bogeys and stop leaving putts short of the cup. He listened, posting his only bogey-free round of the tournament Sunday to finish in a tie for second with Luke Donald, behind champion Adam Scott.
Fowler had 11 bogeys through the first three rounds.
“She helps keep me in line,” Fowler, 22, said of his sister, who recently started playing again after giving up the game as a child. “She’s able to give me advice now because before, she didn’t really know what the game was about or what she was doing. She told me to get it to the hole and hit it a foot by and it worked out.”
Fowler was never really in contention to win at Firestone Country Club on Sunday, but ultimately it didn’t matter. His 4-under 66 was his best Sunday round in quite a while and was good enough to earn his fourth second-place finish.
He still hasn’t won in 55 events, but entering next week’s PGA Championship, he’s inching ever so closer. That was evident at Firestone, when he was pleased with how he hit his irons and he putted extremely well. After taking his sister’s advice on the greens, Fowler needed just one putt on seven of nine holes on the back Sunday.
“I’ve been playing a lot better the last month or two, and this is really the first time I’ve played a good final round,” he said. “Last year I had a good run where I just hung around until Sunday and had a kind of backdoor top 10. It’s been a while since I played well on Sunday.”
Fowler was in contention entering Sunday at both the AT&T and the British Open this year, but fell apart in the final rounds both times with over-par scores.
“After those two Sunday final rounds, I knew I had to stay a lot more patient and within myself and make sure that I was fully committed to every shot and think everything through,” he said. “We did that today. … It’s definitely the best I’ve been playing going into a major.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.