Rickie Fowler, given a special exemption to compete in this, his 12th PGA Championship, got off to a nice start on Thursday, shooting 1-under 71. Fowler said extra work on the greens – he spent about four hours working on his putting one day this week – paid off Thursday, when he had 27 putts. It was a good sign. As his swing has improved, his putting has declined.

“I’m starting to feel pretty darn good,” Fowler said. “Unfortunately, through that time, the putter has gone pretty cold, if not the coldest it's ever been for me, and that's been a club I've been able to rely on through my career, from junior golf on up.”

When he is home in South Florida, Fowler often plays money games against NBA legend Michael Jordan at The Grove, Jordan’s course. Fowler gives Jordan 10 shots over 18 holes, and says Jordan averages about 77. The smack talk is constant. Fowler believes it’s good prep. In one match against Jordan, Fowler said he was 7 under through 17 holes … and lost.

“If you don’t lose money to him, it’s actually a win,” Fowler said.

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