Rickie Fowler is one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour, but he is still chasing that elusive Major Championship at the Open Championship this week.
Rickie Fowler has a routine at the end of Major Championships. Finish your round, then wait for your friend to lift the trophy.
This week at the Open Championship, however, Fowler hopes he is the one hoisting the Claret Jug Sunday afternoon.
Fowler has seen his friends win majors too often. Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are just some of the players Fowler has waited to congratulate behind the last green. But he has yet to win one himself in his career.
Recall the saying “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” That sums up Fowler perfectly.
Fowler admits that seeing his friends have success is what drives him to achieve the same things. He is tired of being the one waiting; he wants them to wait for him now.
“There’s not much more motivation you can get than when you see them win, have that success,” he told NBC’s Mike Tirico on Vantage Point. “Because that’s exactly where you want to be.”
Fowler’s flair and personality have made him a fan favorite on the PGA Tour. It’s a status that his play has not always backed up. He hasn’t won in more than a year and has just four wins in his career.
But the perception that he doesn’t deserve the attention he gets drives him. Nowhere was this more on display than at the 2015 Players Championship. The week before the tournament Fowler was voted the most overrated player on tour in an anonymous survey. Then at TPC Sawgrass he played the final six holes in six-under and won in a playoff.
Fowler also has a solid record at Majors. He has eight top five finishes; only Lee Westwood and Jay Haas have more without a win in the last 50 years. At the Open Championship he tied for 5th in 2011, then finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in 2014.
This year at The Masters he made six birdies in his last 11 holes, including a dramatic one at the 18th, to finish one shot behind Patrick Reed.
But the dreaded title of “best player without a major” continues to follow him around. At 29 he is perhaps too young to have this bestowed upon him, but it’s whispered nonetheless. Fowler says now is finally the time to remove that doubt.
“It would be a nice, large monkey off my back,” he says. “I think it’s a compliment in a way. If you look at it the right way. It’s going to happen. I think the biggest step towards that was Augusta this year. Being under the gun and performing, and kind of moving and going through the process and hitting the shots I needed to. Time to get it done.”
Fowler believes he has a great chance to win this week at Carnoustie because links golf suits his game. He got in some practice last week at the Scottish Open, where he finished sixth. Five of the last seven Open champions have played the Scottish Open the week before.
“Links golf, which I love, very much suits my eye. So we’re going to have a great chance here.”
“Sometimes it’s your week and sometimes it’s not. If it’s my week or not, we’ll find out. But I’m definitely going to give it a go.”
Fowler begins his chase of the Claret Jug at 10:09 a.m. local time (5:09 a.m. EST) on Thursday.