Until the par-3 12th at The Memorial, it looked like Rickie Fowler, who entered Sunday with the 54-hole lead, would secure his first PGA Tour win. The bad news is he lost, but the good news is even more significant— he didn’t do something like lay up coming down the stretch.
For the first half of the day, the 21-year-old rookie continued to dominate, but a bogey on the 10th and Justin Rose’s fine play, resulted in a share of the lead. So what happened on the 12th? Well, he dunked his tee shot in the water — which some felt was too aggressive of a play, but not according to Rickie, who explained in his post-round press conference.
“I was trying to hit a little 5 iron,” he said. “It was back into the bridge. I think it was 185 yards actual yardage, adjusted played down a few yards. But I was just trying to aim at the back bunker and cut it off a little bit there. I was trying to aim at the back bunker and cut it off a little bit there. The ball started going where I wasn’t trying to. So I just made a bad swing and paid for it.”
Unfortunately, Rickie never recovered from the double-bogey. But he never let up either. And he learned a valuable lesson for the future.
“I’m going to feel a lot more comfortable being in contention throughout the rest of the year when I am in contention because I definitely saw how much it helped being in contention at Phoenix [at the Waste Management Open] and then helping me this week,” he said.
In other words, the self-described “quick, pretty laid back, and easygoing” golferlearned from the backlash of playing safe at a critical moment and stayed aggressive.
Moving on to a more important issue — Rickie’s all-orange PUMA outfit. It appears many viewers and readers were baffled by his decision to dress like a prison inmate (see here for the Rickie Fowler Sunday clothing line), which would have been completed with a ball and chain.
But for those unaware, Rickie wears orange head-to-toe every Sunday to represent Oklahoma State, where he attended for two years before turning pro last fall. So you see, he’s not trying to look like a jailbird or creamsicle, he’s just reppin’ his school.
In related news, Rickie played at the 36-hole US Open Sectional qualifier in Columbus, OH, today. Firing one-under, he tied for 55th and failed to win a trip to Pebble Beach next week. Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing him there.