Justin Rose, who failed to qualify for the US Open a day after winning The Memorial, clinched a spot in the Open Championship on Sunday when he finished atop the short-money list and won the AT&T National. Just a day later, Rickie Fowler, who finished runner-up to Rose last month, got the nod from the R&A to make his Open debut. Jeff Overton also received word to pack his bags for St. Andrews to make his third consecutive appearance at the championship.
Two Sundays ago at the Travelers, I ran into Rickie’s caddie, Joe Skovron, walking past the clubhouse. I said, “Hey, Joe. Good job this week. You guys should be good for the British, right?” Entering the week, Rickie was second on the short-money list and the top-two get a trip to St. Andrews. With the leaders still out on the course that late Sunday afternoon, he shook his head and replied he wasn’t sure because some of the guys near the top hadn’t qualified for the Open and would pass Rickie in the standings if they won.
“Well, I wouldn’t worry about it. You guys will make it. One of those guys will mess up coming in,” I joked.
Wrong. Bubba Watson jumped to number two in the rankings with the $1 or so check he earned with his victory at the Travelers. Entering the AT&T National, Rickie was in third place, but Bubba wasn’t in the field. So, things were looking good, right? Wrong. Rickie shot a 77 in the second round and missed the cut.
And because the Open gives players, like 124 different ways, to qualify, Rickie received the good news that he got in from the alternate list, which goes straight off the world rankings, he explained to me via text. And Rickie was the highest-ranked player at 37th, not already exempt.
When he MC’d at the AT&T, people said there was only one last chance for him to make it to the Open — a spot is reserved for the leading player that also places in the top-five at this week’s John Deere Classic.
So, has Rickie ever played at St. Andrews? What are his thoughts on playing in the Open? And is he still playing this week? He replied via text:
Nope…can’t wait!! Ya, still in the Deere.
Well, now playing in the John Deere will be anticlimactic. Good on him for keeping his commitment. (though I’ve heard you get in trouble for withdrawing at such late notice if you don’t have a legitimate reason — but doesn’t going across the pond early to prepare for the Open qualify as such? I think so, but I don’t make the rules.) If I’m him, I eat a bad batch of steak and come down with food poisoning on Thursday morning. (Kidding!)
So, what’s the over/under he makes the cut this week?