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Rickie Fowler’s battles with Michael Jordan helped slump

Rickie Fowler’s slump isn’t over but, however he’s actually off to a promising begin on Kiawah Island.

Fowler’s crediting that, partly, to Michael Jordan.

Fowler, who has fallen greater than 100 spots within the Official World Golf Rankings since 2019, revealed Thursday after his opening spherical on the PGA Championship in South Carolina that he’s struck up a golf rivalry with the Hall of Famer in latest months.

Though Jordan is an avid golfer and might incessantly shoot within the 70s, Fowler stated he nonetheless has to offer the previous Chicago Bulls legend 10 strokes anytime they play. And, with how aggressive Jordan is with every thing he does, that makes their matches extraordinarily tough.

“I was 7-under par through 17 holes [recently] and I lost,” Fowler stated, . “And he’s not quiet about it. Playing against MJ is as good as it gets for prep.”

Fowler is likely one of the fortunate few who’ve gotten to play Jordan’s unique Grove XXIII course in South Florida, which has lower than 100 members.

While taking part in there undoubtedly provides Jordan a bonus, Fowler stated any spherical the place he retains money in his pocket is an efficient one.

“I think not having to hand over any money to MJ has been probably some of the bigger wins because of how Grove sets up for him, where he’s able to press [various wagers],” Fowler stated, . “If I’m able to win the original match and lose — not have him flip the original match because of the press or multiple presses. So if I don’t lose money to him, that’s actually a win.”

Fowler opens PGA Championship with 1-under 71

Fowler is in an amazing place after Thursday’s opening spherical on the PGA Championship.

He posted a 1-under 71 and sat simply two again from the leaders upon arrival on the clubhouse within the early wave, with his solely stumble coming within the type of a pair of bogeys in three holes on his again 9.

“I’m starting to feel pretty darn good,” he stated, . “The last few months, it’s been a lot more just go play golf and not play golf swing. Put a lot of time in prior to the last few months of working on swing and doing the stuff we kind of needed to work on and accomplish. Now it’s just go play golf.”

The 32-year-old has five PGA Tour wins to his name, though he hasn’t won since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Fowler had just two top-10 finishes last season, and has missed the cut seven times already this year — including the past two weeks at the Wells Fargo Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson.

He didn’t play at the Masters last month, marking the first time in more than a decade that he’s not played at Augusta National, and is only competing this week on a special exemption.

Fowler, who once climbed as high as No. 4 on the Official World Golf Ranking, now sits down at 128.

Though it’s been a struggle, Fowler is happy with where he’s at 18 holes into the PGA Championship — where a solid performance would undoubtedly do wonders both for his game, and his confidence.

“Yeah, it’s been tough,” Fowler stated, . “Especially knowing that at times, tee to green, it’s been a lot better than what things may show or look. Partly because of things not potting well or just not having the ball go in.

“A lot of it is just you start to see some putts go in, and the hole starts to look a lot better, but as soon as you miss a few, it starts to shrink up on you. That’s currently where things have been. It’s nice to at least make some putts today. I hit some good putts, and I kind of attribute that to the work we put in earlier this week.”

Rickie Fowler plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship

Rickie Fowler, now No. 128 on this planet, posted a 1-under 71 on Thursday to open the PGA Championship. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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