Rickie Fowler achieved a remarkable feat during the first round of the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club, shooting a record-setting 62. His success can be attributed to a small adjustment he made to his putter, which had a significant impact on his performance.
Fowler revealed that he modified his grip and reduced the length of his putter by 1/8 inch, providing him with more clearance. This change allowed him to let the putter swing freely without any interference from his clothing or body. By giving the putter the freedom to do its job, Fowler was able to improve his putting game.
Earlier this year, Fowler switched to a longer Odyssey Versa Jailbird putter, the same model used by his caddie, Ricky Romano. After trying out Romano's putter and making a few putts, Fowler became fond of it. For the U.S. Open, he obtained a new version of the putter with a SuperStroke Tour 3.0 17-inch grip and added 20-25 grams of lead tape to the sole. Although the putter has a longer grip, it does not fall under the categories of armlock, belly, or broomstick putters. Fowler does not anchor the grip to any part of his body but utilizes a counter-balanced setup that has simplified his putting technique.
Since January, Fowler has stuck with this putter, a welcome change after experimenting with various putters throughout the previous year. In the previous season, he ranked 161st in Strokes Gained: Putting, but leading up to the U.S. Open, he improved to 49th place. During the first round, Fowler excelled in the putting category, ranking first in SG: Putting with a score of 4.800. He successfully made every putt within 15 feet, accumulating a total of 111'11" on 25 putts.
Fowler emphasized the significance of sinking mid-range putts, something he struggled with in previous weeks. This accomplishment was pivotal in maintaining the momentum and progress of his round. Alongside the equipment adjustment, Fowler made minor changes to his grip positioning and pressure, focusing on allowing the putter to swing naturally. The culmination of these factors resulted in Fowler's record-breaking performance.
Now, the putter holds the key to Fowler's chances of securing his first major championship at The Los Angeles Country Club. Its success in the early stages of the tournament bodes well for Fowler's aspirations as he seeks to make a significant impact in the coming days.