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19th Hole

‘Has there been a worse coaching switch than Rickie Fowler’s move to John Tillery?’ – GolfWRXers discuss



In our forums, our members have been discussing Rickie Fowler’s coaching switch to John Tillery. WRXer ‘OnTheBogeyTrain’ opens up the thread with a strong take, saying:

“Has there ever been a worse coaching change/decision? Hard to believe the damage that has been done to Rickie’s game since working with Tillery. I have followed his entire career really closely, and I just can’t believe 1. He quit working with Butch and Claude and 2. That he is still with Tillery after these last couple of years.

His instruction and coaching clearly works for some…but this is clearly not working. Am I missing something? Thoughts?”

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee gave his say on the pairing last year to GolfWeek, saying that: “He’s got a good coach (John Tillery), but I disagree with the philosophy that he’s coaching, which is more flex in his right knee”, and added that “I cannot believe Rickie left Butch.”

Now our members have been having their say, with some critical of Rickie’s decision and others defending the move by pinpointing his fall off with his putter, but all agree that they’d love to see him hitting some good form again.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and share your view at the link below.

  • Redjeep83: ” I honestly think he got too bogged down on the technical stuff with Tillery. That rarely works.”
  • kwainio: “JT is 2nd SG Tee to Green in the past 12 months and 1st in the past 6 months. Rickie is 29th T2G over the past 6 months (one spot behind Morikawa), which is really good. And if you take a deeper look at Rickie’s peak seasons, he’s hasn’t fallen *that* far off T2G; it’s just the putting is truly horrific. Right now, Rickie is the second-worst putter in the top 150 over the past 6 months, and over the past two years Will Zalatoris is putting better.. and uh, Rickie does not hit the ball like Zalatoris. All of this goes to show how important putting is at this level. I hope he gets it back.”
  • me05501: “I saw a down-the-line camera shot of him hitting a mid-iron approach a couple of weeks ago. I’m no coach, but it was pretty clear that he was dramatically across the line. It really stuck out in this age of robotic swings on Tour. It looked like a swing that would require perfect timing to work on Tour.”
  • Scotty1140: “Every golfer has their ups and downs. Slumps happen to everyone. Him leaving the Harmons always seemed odd to me as well though. Unfortunately I think the biggest reason here is Fowler just isn’t a top tier pro golfer like many try and make him out to be. And many people’s expectations for him might need adjusting. It stinks because he seems like a genuinely good dude who represents the game well.”

Entire Thread: “‘Has there been a worse coaching switch than Rickie Fowler’s move to John Tillery?'”

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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]



  1. BJ

    Mar 1, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    Rickie is going to be just fine….

  2. Brandon

    Mar 1, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    It all fell apart when he was trying to play those ridiculous Rev33 blades.

  3. Pipper

    Mar 1, 2022 at 6:19 pm

    It’s not the coaching that got in the way……. can’t you see the picture? He was busy with marriage and the subsequent pipe laying to have a baby.
    He should be ok now LOL

  4. Chris Herrbach

    Mar 1, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    Lydia Ko to Leadbetter
    Michele Wie to Leadbetter
    Charles Howell III to Leadbetter

  5. Henry R Fitzgerald

    Mar 1, 2022 at 8:36 am

    He can still sell you some cheap mortgages, good beer, and insurance….

    • Fenry HW Hitzgerald

      Mar 1, 2022 at 5:40 pm

      and nobody pays you for anything pal… whats your point? just being stupid?

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19th Hole

‘What’s going on?’ – Justin Thomas left frustrated with two officials over ruling at Hero



During Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge, Justin Thomas called for a rules official and subsequently, a second opinion, on the par-5 9th at Albany Golf Club.

The players were playing lift-clean-and-place, and Thomas’ ball came to rest about 5o yards short of the green in an area where it was difficult to identify if the ball was sitting in the fairway or the rough. The ball had gathered some mud, so if the rules official had decided that his ball was in fact in the rough, he would have to hit a pretty difficult shot given the condition on his golf ball.

“Basically, what’s going on?” Thomas asked the official.

The official told Thomas that the change of color in the grass was indicative of the change of fairway to rough, and therefore he would have to hit his ball as it lied. Thomas argued that the grass was cut to the same length in both spots, therefore the color didn’t matter.

“But you see, what I’m saying, this is also beat down from the carts, but look at how much longer this is than this,” he said before walking over to the thicker grass. “Like see, this is the same height [where his ball was and the apparent fairway.] I totally see it’s down grain and it’s a totally different color, but … the change of the length of grass is just what kind of confused me.”

After relief was denied by the official, “JT” called for a second opinion. While waiting for another official to show up, Thomas was heard saying to his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, ““It’s the same exact length, this is not rough.”

When the second rules official came over, he said: “I can see the cutline right here,” and pointed to the different shades of grass that the other official mentioned.

Thomas accepted the decision.

Interestingly, announcer Paul Azinger shared his opinion that the second rules official almost never will disagree with the first rules official’s ruling.

“That second opinion almost never works,” Azinger said to Dan Hicks during the broadcast.

“Really?” Hicks asked.

“Never,” Azinger said. “Very rarely will an official go against another official.”

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19th Hole

Data shows how much more difficult greens become as the day progresses



For many a golf bettor, betting on the first round leader of any tournament revolves around the early starters.

Even a cursory look at this week’s Australian Open shows the morning wave averaging 1.73 shots better than the afternoon players, resulting in 18 early starters finishing in the top-10 by the end of the day, including current leader David Micheluzzi.

However, over on the South African Open, the roles are reversed, with current leader Thirston Lawrence taking up one of 15 places on the front page of leaderboard for the late starters, who shot around half-a-shot less than the morning groups.

Naturally, there are many factors – wind, temperature, dew, grass-types and, potentially, overall quality of the groupings, but these are variables that can change from day to day.

Step in Lou Stagner, data lead of Arccos Golf and all-round numbers guru.

Stagner does not deal in emotion or factors that cannot be measured. It’s facts, figures and that’s your lot!

He will tell you that from the fairway, 80-yards from the pin, professionals simply don’t get as close as many believe:

On Wednesday, the man who once built a Lego model of Augusta #12, tweeted a table showing the variance in putts made by PGA Tour members under morning and afternoon conditions.

Taking stats over 17 years, the table shows an advantage to the early starters, not by much, but enough to consider.

There are plenty of places to take the stats, with a few respondents asking for a table on grass types through the day – Bent v Bermuda v POA – and that will probably turn up on Stanger’s twitter feed soon.

Of course, on a Sunday, later starters have the pressure of trying to win a tournament, which is why we tend to see flashy rounds from those a few off the pace on Payday, but it is enough to consider when trying to get that illusive three-figure first (or second) round leader.

Either way, two-time major champion, and regular tweeter Justin Thomas, decided this was his chance to get in an early excuse when he’s off late in the day.

Make of what you will. Perhaps the stats will one day include how many of these are for par saves against birdie putts, or is that too much?

Either way, Stagner continues to bombard us with stats that delight and entertain, and that can be no bad thing. Unless you are a buddy of Lou’s…

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19th Hole

Cam Smith fumes at ‘pretty s****y’ opening round at Australian Open



After an incredible week at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith is off to a rough start at the Australian Open. The Champion Golfer of the Year struggled to hit fairways all day long and finished his round at +1 which is eight shots back of first-round leader David Micheluzzi (-7).

Smith, who received a massive ovation from the crowd, was extremely displeased, calling his play “pretty shitty” as he went from his post-round press conference to the practice range. The 29-year-old also said it was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”.

“I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,”

“Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”

Despite the uninspiring round, the world number three still feels as if he can get back into the event and contend.

“It’s not like I don’t know how to play golf, it was just a bit of a bad day.”

“I’ve just got a few things to clean up, I think. Like I said last week [at the Australian PGA Championship], I felt as though the golf got better every day.”

The Aussie is incredible at recovery shots and finding his way out of trouble. But if he wants to be the first player to win the Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season since 2011, he needs to start putting the ball in the fairway.

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