We’ve all heard that things like practice, practice, practice and hard work will get you where you want to go, but what if it’s something else that’s helping you achieve your goals? Golfing great Rickie Fowler recently described the crucial role that four-time NBA champion Michael Jordan has played in his success since playing in the PGA Championship last month.

PGA Tour pro Rickie Fowler has been at the top of the leaderboard in golf’s top tournament since he won the U.S. Open last summer, but the upcoming PGA Championship has presented Fowler with his toughest test yet. That’s because it’s Jordan’s first PGA Championship since retiring from the sport in 2003, and the legendary basketball player turned out to be the toughest golfer of all.

Rickie Fowler credits his PGA Championship resurgence to an unlikely source: Michael Jordan. Fowler, who won the Quicken Loans National last week to cap off a stunning turnaround season, credits a trip to see the NBA Hall of Famer in February for helping him regain his game after his lowest points in years.

Rickie Fowler hasn’t been playing his best golf lately, and he’s the first to admit that he hasn’t played his game in a while. The five-time PGA Tour winner has failed to make the cut in seven of his last 17 tournaments and has not won an event since 2019. But Fowler regained some of his old magic at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island this week. The elegant fan favorite enters the final round in 13th place and seven strokes behind the leader. You’d think Fowler would cite his swing coach, new equipment or a new mindset as the main reason for his resurgence in Kiawah this weekend, but he actually blames the NBA legend for helping him out of his recent slump: Michael Jordan.

Rickie Fowler’s recent troubles

Rickie Fowler hits a drive on the 11th hole. Hole during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort Ocean Course | Stacy Revere/Getty Images word-image-8844 COMPARED TO: Tiger Woods was once called to the golf course in the name of his country Golf fans are used to seeing Fowler at the top of the leaderboard in almost every major event on the golf calendar. After all, just a few years ago he finished in the top five of each of the four PGA Tour major championships. But the consistent player we have come to know and love is gone. In 17 starts during the 2021 season, Fowler missed seven cuts and finished in the top 20 only twice. He failed to qualify for the Masters in April for the first time since 2010 and only made the cut at the PGA Championship thanks to an exemption. Fowler has dropped to 128th place in golf’s official world rankings. Yes, it was tough, he said Thursday from Kiawah Island after the first round of the PGA Championship. Especially when you know that sometimes from tee to green it went much better than it looked. Partly because we couldn’t make a good layup or didn’t have the ball. Usually you see a few ticks and the hole starts to look bigger, but once you miss a few times, it starts to shrink.

Break the malaise at the PGA Championship

COMPARED TO: Phil Mickelson has already made golf history on Kiawah Island, whether or not he wins the 2021 PGA Championship It seemed like everyone in the golf world was coming off the scaffold of Fowler for the second major of the year. He entered the tournament as a longshot at 160/1, as he hasn’t been for a very, very long time. But Fowler found something this weekend on the windswept shores of Kiawah Island. The right-hander bowled a 1-under 71 in difficult conditions on Thursday, followed by scores of 4-over 76 and 3-under 69. Fowler enters the final round in 13th place with the same score as the day before. A good last lap will give him his best result of the season. I’m starting to feel really good, Fowler said. For the past two months, I’ve mostly been playing golf and not golfing. Until the last few months, we spent a lot of time focusing on our momentum and what we need to accomplish. Now it’s just a golf game.

Fowler thanks his return to the PGA Championship to Michael Jordan

. COMPARED TO: Dustin Johnson made history at the PGA Championship on Friday, but not in a good What do most PGA Tour players do when they are struggling to find their game? Do you photograph every day from sunrise to sunset? Are you trying a new kick at the ball? Maybe consult a new swing coach? Fowler tried all three options, but said the biggest contributor to his resurgence was playing against Michael Jordan in the league rounds. Lately, he has been playing most of his practice rounds with Jordan at his private golf course, The Grove XXIII in Hobe Sound, Fla. The PGA Tour professional is hitting MJ 10 strokes per round and it’s always hard for him to pull out a victory. I was at 7-under par for 17 holes and lost, Fowler said. And he won’t shut up about it. Playing against MJ is the best thing you can prepare for. According to Fowler, when he plays against Jordan, it’s always about money, which only adds to the competitiveness of the round. I think one of the biggest wins was that I didn’t have to give MJ any money, because Grove is set up to take [multiple bets], Fowler said. If I win the original match and then lose, it should not cause the original match to be cancelled because of one or more pressers. So if I don’t lose money to him, that’s profit.

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