The hype is real: Fowler impresses at Pinehurst
By Bernie D'Amato under US Open
He got game. ©USGA/Darren Carroll.

He got game. ©USGA/Darren Carroll.

Rickie Fowler posted his best career finish in a major with a T2 at the 2014 U.S. Open. He said his goal coming into the season was to contend in the major championships, and he is two-for-two if you include his T5 at the Masters. Fowler is now in his fifth season on the PGA Tour, and he is poised for a big year.

Rickie entered the final round five strokes behind Martin Kaymer. After failing to birdie the drivable par-4 third, he ran into trouble on the fourth hole. After the round, Fowler said, “I knew Martin was playing well and he was going to be tough to catch. I figured I would have to go out and shoot a couple under on the front nine, and at least put a little bit of heat on him. That was kind of stopped quickly when I made a quick double there on four. So I was kind of thrown behind the 8-ball quickly, and kind of rallied back and kept moving forward.”

After the double, Rickie was eight strokes behind Kaymer, and was playing for second place the rest of the way. Consecutive birdies on 12 and 13 gave Fowler a chance at solo second, but a bogey on 17 and a missed birdie putt on 18 tied him with Erik Compton for second place.

Fowler was pleased with the way he handled the pressure of being in the final group with Kaymer. He said, “I felt really comfortable, which is a very good thing. I haven’t — I only played a handful of final groups, and this is my first one in a major. The more experience you can get in the final groups, and especially in majors and in contention at majors, it definitely helps out for down the road.”

Looking forward, Fowler must be excited about his game. He started working on his swing with Butch Harmon last November, and despite a couple rough patches, he is playing great golf when it matters most.

Rickie said, “I’m trying to keep getting better and ultimately trying to be the best player in the world, and winning tournaments, winning majors, and we got some work to do.”

He isn’t far off from accomplishing major feats in the future.

–Bernie D’Amato