Rickie Fowler plays practice round with Patriots' Tom Brady ahead of U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - There are numerous ways to prepare for the U.S. Open. But getting putting tips from Tom Brady?

"I'll tell you what, Tom Brady can putt,'' Rickie Fowler said Wednesday. "So if I can take that into this week, I think that's one thing I took off of him that will help me.''

Fowler didn't have much else to offer about the round he played with Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, on Tuesday at nearby Friar's Head. Fowler's long-time caddie, Joe Skovron, joined them, as did investment banker Jimmy Dunne. Phil Mickelson showed up to play with them them on the back nine. Dunne was Mickelson's amateur partner earlier this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

"The last couple of days have been nice to get away from how busy the U.S. Open is,'' Fowler said at Shinnecock Hills, where the tournament begins on Thursday.

"Obviously, practice rounds can take some time. I think a big part of being ready for the week is being rested mentally and physically as well.

"So being able to go out and play and get away from the kind of hectic scene of the U.S. Open, I think can be very beneficial.''

Fowler is seeking his first major title after a runner-up finish to Patrick Reed at the Masters. He finished in the top 5 in all four major championships in 2014 and has long been expected to win one of the game's four top tournaments.

The former Oklahoma State star first played Shinnecock Hills in 2013 and has played a good number of rounds in the area over the past week.

He also used the occasion of his trip to the Hamptons to get engaged to his fiancée, Allison.

"Nothing against the area, nothing planned out,'' he said. "I just really didn't want to carry the ring around any longer. So it worked out perfectly. We kept things very, very casual. I didn't want to have to keep toting that thing around for that long.''