World No 185 Rickie Fowler keen to 'get back to having fun and being in contention'

Less than three weeks after Rory McIlroy won the final event of the 2021/22 PGA Tour season, the new season gets under way at the Fortinet Championship in California.

And for former world number four Rickie Fowler, that means an early chance to kickstart a career which has seen him win five times on the PGA Tour - including the prestigious Players Championship - but not since 2019.

Fowler lost a play-off for the Fortinet Championship in 2009 and was fourth the following year, but has not previously played at the current venue in Silverado.

The 33-year-old is also contesting his first tournament since returning to swing coach Butch Harmon after a three-year stint with John Tillery.

"I love Tillery, I can't say a bad thing about him," Fowler, who is currently ranked 185th in the world, told the PGA Tour's website.

"I had to put the personal side away and just look at what's best for me in the business of golf. We gave it all we had for three years."

Fowler is likely to have to wait until October's Shriners Children's Open in Las Vegas - where Harmon is based - to see his coach in person, but has already been working on swing changes, even though he left his own clubs at home for a family holiday in the Bahamas.

"I hit some (balls) and played a few holes with a rental set, just played with whatever they had," he added. "The driver shaft wasn't anything great, so I just played with the irons.

"One of the days I played like 12 holes with one of the assistant pros down there. It was nice to get away, have some fun, and work on a couple of swing things."

Fowler finished third behind Rory McIlroy in the CJ Cup 11 months ago, but that was his only top 10 of a season in which he missed nine cuts in 22 starts and was exempt for just one of the four majors.

Asked about his goals for the new season, he added: "Get back to having fun and being in contention.

"Over the last few years I wasn't really in a position to be in contention a whole lot. There were a couple times, but there shouldn't be such big gaps between having a chance to win. I want to go out and beat guys."

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