Harmon: Rickie Will Win This Year

One of the great stories of last week's US Open was the further proof that Rickie Fowler is fast approaching his best. The American's scores got worse as the week went on – 62-68-70-75 - which is a common theme in a US Open and particularly one that began with the first 62 in this Major.

But his coach, Butch Harmon, was more than happy to ring the long list of positives after his share of fifth spot at Los Angeles Country Club.

“It wasn’t the day he wanted, but he put himself in position, and he’ll learn from this and use it,” Harmon said. “It’s just a speed bump in his career and it'll help him. It shows how far he’s come but that he still has work to do. He can get better.”

Fowler was the first alternate at last year's US Open at Brookline, spending the Thursday on the range before heading home, but this year he has been hoisting himself back up the world rankings. In April he was ineligible for The Masters but he's now back inside the world's top 50 at No. 35.

He's been as high as fourth and as low as 185th but, now reunited with Harmon, the 34-year-old is right back on track with his game.

“When Rickie went through his bad stretch, it was brutal to watch,” Harmon added. “I knew how good he could be but his swing wasn’t producing. After a while he lost his confidence, too. But he never wavered as a person, signing all the autographs and giving his time. If the world was full of Rickie Fowlers, it would be one hell of a place.”

The pair teamed back up last November after Fowler got in touch with Harmon – they had stopped working together when the coach decided to stop travelling as much – and it's been a fairly seamless union ever since, helped by Harmon's brother Craig keeping an eye on things at the Medalist in Florida.

“I was overjoyed, it had to be his decision, and when we started, I knew right away we could make fast progress. After a while, Rickie started coming out to Vegas to see me and we could both see the path back, even better than before. Golf is a cruel game, and sometimes those bad times, if you can get through them, really help you going forward.

“Once we got his backswing in a better position, he could be athletic and use that great speed he has through the ball.”

As for the Sunday in LA Harmon sees it simply as part of the process.

“I always say, ‘Bad shots are part of the process,’ and we saw some of that in the final round. Rickie hasn’t felt that kind of major-championship pressure in a while, so this is a very positive step. He'll win this year, maybe more than once. Maybe at Hoylake (at the Open Championship next month).”