By Paul Myers

Outside of Rory McIlroy, it could be argued that no golfer in the world has had a better year than Rickie Fowler. Despite not actually taking home a major championship trophy, Fowler managed to finish in the top five of each of the four majors during the 2014 season. This is an incredible accomplishment, and a huge step forward in the young career of Mr. Fowler. After some off-season changes to his unique swing with Butch Harmon, Fowler is hitting the ball better than ever, and the results were easy to see. He had a real chance to win the PGA Championship in August, and it won’t be surprise to many if he is a major factor at the Ryder Cup.

Swing Speed Increase

The Rickie Fowler Swing Speed is clocking in with a 117.91 average for the 2014 season – very impressive considering his slight stature. That speed is good enough to rank Rickie 29th on the PGA Tour this season. This is particularly interesting because last season Fowler ranked 60th with an average swing speed of 115.64. That uptick in speed and power could possibly be attributed to the improvements he has made to his swing over the last year.

Swing Changes

Although he had a highly successful amateur and college career, Rickie Fowler always possessed a unique swing that you wouldn’t necessarily want to copy. While he could be outstanding when he was on, the consistency needed to contend week in and week out at the highest level just wasn’t there. After taking the big step to iron out that part of his swing and simplify the whole action, the results speak for themselves. He is swinging faster, and arguably hitting the ball better, than ever before.

Natural Golfer

The natural ability to play the game of golf is something that hasn’t changed, and that is a skill that will likely help Rickie perform at the Ryder Cup. While it is obviously important to have a quality swing that can hold up under pressure, it is also important to have a natural feel for the game and flair for the big moment. As evidenced by his play in the majors this season, Rickie Fowler doesn’t appear to be afraid of the spotlight and looks to be ready for the pressure that the Ryder Cup environment will throw his way. As the USA team appears to be out-manned heading into the event, it will likely need Rickie Fowler to show up in a big way if they hope to contend.

It is no coincidence that the big year Fowler has had was aided by an increase in his swing speed. Not only does the higher swing speed mean he can get the ball farther down the fairway, he’s going to have less club in to the greens and will be able to stick the ball closer on average over the course of the season. While Rory McIlroy has clearly established himself as the best golfer in the world currently, it won’t be a surprise to see Fowler continue to challenge him for majors in years to come. If the two happen to be paired against each other with the Ryder Cup on the line on Sunday, it could be one of the highlights of the golf season.

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