The sessions with golf instructor Butch Harmon remain a work in progress for Rickie Fowler.
“Been working on a lot of swing stuff with Butch, working on all the right things,” Fowler said Wednesday after the Crowne Plaza Pro-Am at Colonial Country Club. “It’s just that some weeks it feels better than others. I felt good out there today, definitely like where I’m heading.”
Fowler has missed five cuts in 15 PGA Tour events this season, but he also posted a tie for fifth at The Masters last month, and was sixth the week before in Houston. Fowler started working with Harmon in December.
“It’s kind of been an up-and-down year,” Fowler said. “I’ve been hitting the ball kind of center of the face, which is a good thing, so really I just have to get in there and trust it. It’s definitely a different feeling with the swing that I make now than my old swing.”
Fowler’s making his fifth consecutive Colonial appearance and is in his third year of a business deal with the hotel chain.
Louis Oosthuizen’s 2-year-old daughter Sophia nearly lost the ring finger on her left hand Tuesday during an accident, but the team at the Cook Children’s Medical Center managed to save the finger.
Oosthuizen said he was closing the bathroom door at the place his family is staying for Colonial, and Sophia was on the other side. She was rushed to the emergency room at Cook Children’s, which is the tournament’s primary charity, and surgery was performed by Dr. Pamela Sherman, an orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist.
“It was a scary moment,” Oosthuizen said in a PGA Tour.com story. “It was Sophia’s first time under anesthesia. You never know what’s going to happen.
“Dr. Sherman was great. … She told us it’s important to have the proper people doing it, and they have some of the best there.”
Sophia will return to Cook Children’s on Sunday for a check-up before the Oosthuizens return home.
Putting’s the game
Scotland’s Martin Laird posted top-10 finishes at Colonial in 2010 and 2011, then skipped the Metroplex swing in 2012 and tied for 54th at Colonial last year.
“I just really didn’t putt very well last year,” he said. “In this game, it’s all about putting, and I had to make some changes. It’s coming around and getting a lot better, and maybe as good as 2010 and 2011.”
Former FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas said Colonial is where the chase for golf’s grand title begins.
Haas, who captured the 2011 Tour Championship on his way to the overall season title, said playing from Colonial on is what puts a player in position to be successful late.
“I think playing great late is probably the key thing, I’d say there are two things really,” he said. “From this point to the house, you’ve got to play well and then you have to win the Tour Championship.
“That’s the basic formula, but for me, I kind of played great at the beginning of the year, then faded and then won the Tour Championship. Luckily, I played well enough early to even get into the Tour Championship.”
Haas is almost the exception to the rule.
He entered the Tour Championship at Eastlake ranked 22nd in points before a strong comeback allowed him to clip Webb Simpson by 15 points in the final results.
The difference was about $7 million.