Rickie Fowler Returns To Butch Harmon After Splitting With Coach

The American is back with Butch Harmon as he continues his quest to return to the world's top tier

Rickie Fowler will spend time with Butch Harmon after splitting from his coach John Tillery
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler will return to work with the legendary Butch Harmon after parting ways with his coach John Tillery.

Having split from his long-time caddie Joe Skovron last month, the 33-year-old’s bid to regain the form that made him a fan favourite and ranked as high as No.4 in the world has led to a change of coach too, having ‘never really clicked’ with Tillery. “I couldn’t love the guy any more, and we gave it a good run but it was almost like speaking another language in a way and it never really clicked,” Fowler told Golfweek (opens in new tab).

“He’s had plenty of success with his guys and I wish I would have played significantly better. I’ll take a lot out of the time we spent together. It’s not like the last few years were for nothing. I gained a lot of knowledge and I feel like I’m in a very good spot.”

Tillery has worked with Kevin Kisner, Sepp Straka and Hudson Swafford, but couldn’t help Fowler rediscover his best form. He told ESPN: “Man, I love the guy. This job will punch you in the gut sometimes. As a coach, there's nothing better than watching your guys succeed, and nothing worse than watching them struggle. The X's and O's of what they need to do is the easy part, but getting it done can be a challenge sometimes, and we didn't get it done. I'm pulling for him and wish him nothing but the best."

Fowler plans to spend more time with his former coach Harmon. They have always kept in touch, and the 33-year-old last visited the veteran coach before the CJ Cup, where he finished T3rd, his only top-10 of the season. Now 79, Harmon does not travel much but Fowler has committed to spending more time visiting and taking it from there. “I’m planning to have more communication with him this fall, but not committing or going anywhere outside of that right now,” Fowler told Golfweek.

In 2014, Fowler became just the third player - after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods - to finish in the top-5 of all four Majors in a calendar year, but his form has fallen off a cliff of late. Without a win since 2019, he missed eight of 22 cuts last season and only qualified for one Major, finishing T23rd in the PGA Championship. He was the 125th and last qualifier for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, only making it in after the LIV Golf players were removed from the list. 

Fowler and Skovron went their separate ways before the FedEx Cup Playoffs. They had been together since the then number one ranked amateur golfer turned professional in 2009. Ricky Romano will be on the bag next week as Fowler starts the new PGA Tour season at the Fortinet Championship in California.

Jeff Kimber
Freelance Staff Writer

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!