With a T2 at The Open Championship, Rickie Fowler is the first player since Tiger Woods (2005) to record a top-10 in each of the season’s first three majors. Rickie’s amazing play on the back nine propelled him into a tie with Sergio Garcia, and there is little doubt that Fowler will be hoisting a major trophy in the near future.
After the final round, Rickie explained how he felt about his five-under 67. “It was a great back nine, but didn’t get off to the start I really wanted to. With the way the front nine was playing, there were a couple of holes that were downwind and I had a chance to get some birdies going. Really wasn’t able to do that, but definitely pleased with the way I hung in there, the way I fought it out. I made some great par saves, and tried to give Rory a little run at the end, but just got on the gas a little too late.”
After shooting one-under on the front nine, Rickie made terrific par saves on 12 and 14 before birdieing 15 and 16. Another great par save on 17 was followed by a birdie on 18, and a tie for second place with Sergio.
“Once [Rory] drove it in the fairway on 16, and gave himself an easy birdie there, it was going to be a bit tough to catch him. But definitely, definitely fun to make a few birdies at the end to finish strong. Tie with Sergio for second and at least show Rory that we were still there.”
Rickie has a lot of respect for Rory’s game, but he would like to win The Masters before McIlroy completes the career Grand Slam. “I really don’t have any doubt that [Rory will] win [The Masters]. It would be nice if I can get him first there. I don’t see any reason why he’s not going to win there. Definitely fits his game. It’s hard to say that there’s really any course that doesn’t suit him when he’s on his game, and I’ve seen him play very well there. It’s just a matter of time. Like I said, it would be nice if I can get that one before he does.”
Rickie’s play in the majors this year has him on the short list of “best players without a major.” Maybe it will happen at the PGA next month or at Augusta in April. Whenever it happens, Rickie will look back at his first three majors of 2014 as the time he proved to himself that his game is ready.
“It feels like I should be here. I’m definitely pleased with it. There’s plenty more to come.”