American Rickie Fowler answered his critics emphatically on Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
In the same week as he was labelled ‘The PGA tour’s most overrated player’ by a Sports Illustrated survey of PGA Tour players, Fowler produced an unbelievable finish to defeat Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a playoff and win his second and most significant PGA Tour title to date, the tournament known as golf’s ‘unofficial 5th major’, The Player’s Championship.
Incredibly, with just six holes to play in Sunday’s final round, Fowler trailed the leaders by five shots. He then embarked on a record-breaking run of birdie, par, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie to finish at 12-under par, good enough to get him into a playoff with Sergio Garcia and rookie Kevin Kisner. Fowler then went on to birdie the infamous, island green par-three 17th hole twice in the playoff to eventually emerge as victor at TPC Sawgrass.
Fowler has a unique style in terms of both his dress sense and golf game and whilst he has employed Butch Harmon to help to refine certain parts of his golf game, it is still a distinctive and unique golf swing that Fowler ‘owns’.
He has stuck with what comes naturally to him, trusted in his own ability, believed in his own skillset and won the biggest title of his career to date as a result.
It is always tempting to try and ‘overhaul’ your golf game or ‘rebuild’ your golf swing in order to try and become a better golfer. However, there are many examples of world class golfers that have gone down this route with disastrous results, never able to rediscover what it was they did so well in the first place and sometimes ending their playing careers in the process.
You will play your best golf when you are playing instinctively and naturally, thinking very little about how you are hitting the shots and just ‘letting it happen’.
Therefore, like Fowler, look towards what it is that you do well naturally. When making changes, simply refine what it is that you already have so that it works even better. Play to your strengths, and don’t be afraid to play your own game, whatever that happens to be.
Be fearless and play your own version of golf, because the golf game that comes naturally to you is your best bet for playing great golf.