Rodwell was born in San Francisco, California and his family moved to West Lafayette, Indiana in 1965 where his father was a professor of biochemistry at Purdue University. He started playing bridge at the age of eleven by reading books and playing with his parents. Rodwell graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1974 and attended Purdue, graduating with a master's degree in finance in 1981. Rodwell is currently a full-time bridge professional and lives in Clearwater Beach, Florida with his wife Donna; each has two children from previous marriages, his being twins Jeffrey and Sara (b. 1984).
For decades Rodwell has been in a regular partnership with Jeff Meckstroth, and "Meckwell", for their surnames, is one of the most successful pairs of all time. They are well known for playing an aggressive and very detailed system called RM Precision (for Rodwell-Meckstroth), of which Rodwell is the principal theorist and author. Although he first learned basic Precision at the age of 14, he didn't get serious about developing his own version until 1982 after he and Meckstroth were already winning. Most of RM Precision was developed subsequently in the early '80s with adaptations following more slowly thereafter. As a bidding theorist, Rodwell has created several conventions and methods including the support double, conventional transfers in many situations, the pass-double inversion and the serious three notrump. Although the Unusual Major Jumps Over One Diamond Opening convention (UMJOODO) is often credited to him, he denies inventing it.
Although he has not actively pursued masterpoints as a goal, he is one of the all-time top masterpoint holders in the American Contract Bridge League, and won the Barry Crane Trophy for winning the most masterpoints in a year in 2004. Possibly his most remarkable achievement was at the ACBL's 2008 fall championships, where with four major events available to be contested, he won three (Open Board-A-Match Teams, Blue Ribbon Pairs, Reisinger Teams) and finished second in the fourth (Life Master Open Pairs). The three wins were with Jeff Meckstroth, and the second place with John Diamond.