Rickie Fowler’s driver trials and tribulations show how tough it is for pros to find the right fit

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler has been trying to improve both his overall tee game and his driver setup in 2024.

With a special Mitsubishi Diamana Whiteboard prototype shaft, Fowler began the season with his old Cobra Aerojet LS driver.

For The American Express, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and WM Phoenix Open, he switched to a new Cobra Darkspeed LS (Low-Spin) driver.

At The Genesis Invitational, he changed back into his Aerojet LS, then at The Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches he changed once again into a new Cobra Darkspeed X model, which was fitted with a new Project X Denali Black 70TX shaft.

“The LS head is really good; I was just struggling with it a little bit on dispersion and left-right,” Fowler said at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.

“I felt like the misses, I thought they could be a little tighter, and it was still pretty similar to Aerojet. It wasn’t like the LS wasn’t as good (as the Aerojet) or anything. And I would say that it was probably a little faster, but, a big thing out here is hitting fairways. So hitting out of the middle (of the face) it’s very good. I was just struggling with mishits.

“Yes, we do mishit them. And I just thought I could get a little tighter dispersion. So, that was where the thought of going and trying the X head. Just trying to get, like I said, a tighter window on mishits. And so with that head, there’s obviously a different shape, different weighting, probably starting out, it’s maybe a touch more – or can be – not draw-biased, but have a little bit more left versus the LS.

“But I was just looking for some stability, something that I was going to be able to hit and trust to hit at the fairway more often. So that was kind of the main idea behind it. It was pretty solid last week. Trying to validate a little bit more.”

The early indications are that the new driver setup will improve Fowler’s accuracy off the tee.

“Obviously, I’m a big fan of the Whiteboard; always have been,” Fowler said. “(Cobra Tour rep Ben Schomin) sent this Denali over. It felt pretty similar, maybe a little more stable. And so I went with that … it just matched up as a good combo, good feel, felt stable, had the forgiveness. The spin window is good. Heel shots weren’t spinning off the charts. Toe balls that were drawing weren’t getting too low. You know, it felt like I was able to hit shots, as far as lower flight, get it up in the air if I wanted to.

“But, ultimately, the dispersion window on mishits and left and right seem to be a bit tighter, which that can give you either more confidence or feeling more comfortable, and ultimately making better swings.”