Korea Win Fuels Fowler’s Confidence
By Stephanie Wei under Fall Series

Rickie now seeking win on PGA Tour

Rickie Fowler didn’t just get the monkey off his back by securing his first professional victory at the Kolon Korea Open, he also picked up a check for $300 million. Take that, Bill Haas! Okay, that’s a little misleading – it was 300 million Won (South Korea’s currency), which is equivalent to approximately $257,000). Still, it sounds mighty impressive, right?

“Bill Haas, 10 million. I mean, I got 300 million. I guess it was like 11.4 or something, Bill’s. 300 million, that’s way more,” said Fowler, jokingly, during his presser on Wednesday at this week’s PGA Tour Fall Series event, The McGladrey Classic.

Of course, the check that comes along with the victory ranks low on the positives of winning. For Fowler, it was gaining confidence (along with learning to win in contention, which is actually a process and not as easy as some make it look) and probably feeling relieved he no longer has to answer questions about why he hadn’t won yet.

“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” said Rickie. “And the way I played in contention, the way I felt, because like I said, it wasn’t like I was just playing against no one. There were some good players.

“The way I played, played with the lead and pulled away really made me feel good about my game, gave me a lot of confidence, and feeling really good going into this off-season with a few more events and then really kind of sit down and practice and prepare for next year.”

I know this is nitpicking a bit, but when he said he wasn’t “playing against no one” — he obviously meant no-names, but it brings up another point. He kind of wasn’t on Sunday since he went into the final round with what — an eight-shot lead? He’d played amazing to have such a large cushion, but I think it’s a different test with regards to the pressure of finishing the job when you’re locked in a duel. Just a thought. I’m not trying to discount Rickie’s impressive win.

But I digressed.

Rickie also acknowledged his not-so-great scoring average after the midway point at tournaments.

“I just struggled this year on the weekend,” he said, “and the win in Korea, I finally put four pretty good rounds together. I played okay on Friday. Other than that I played pretty well.”

He also preempted questions on the strength of the field at the OneAsian tour event, but look, he finally beat the U.S. Open champ.

“And yeah, it wasn’t as strong a field as a PGA Tour event, but at the same time two guys that are pretty well known that were up in the mix, Y.E. Yang and Rory (McIlroy), so obviously Rory is probably one of the hottest players right now. He’s been playing well, and it was nice to get a win against him, because we’re good buddies but at the same time friendly rivals.”

Fowler is planning on playing in the Australian PGA and the Shark Shootout, and he’s first alternate for Tiger’s tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, so this week at The McGladrey Classic will be his last chance of the year to secure a win on the PGA Tour.

“It hasn’t been a great year (on the PGA Tour). It’s been all right. I’ve played a lot more consistently, I’ve made more cuts, but obviously I’m not out here to just make cuts; I want to be in contention and have high finishes and win golf tournaments.”

Well, as Rickie would say, #GOTIME.

(AP Photo/Yonhap, Yang Young-suk)