PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Rickie Fowler is true when he says main championships, or lack thereof, won’t outline him as a person. Regardless of his neon apparel, rock-star hair and skater-boy method to his craft, Fowler has lengthy confirmed to be one of many recreation’s oldest souls.
Through the years he has delivered heartfelt tributes to Arnold Palmer and Payne Stewart, and has proven the form of respect for his elders and contemporaries that will make any guardian proud. However in the long run, Fowler is wealthy and well-known as a result of he’s a extremely expert skilled golfer.
And there’s no operating from the truth that as a extremely expert skilled golfer, he’ll most positively be outlined by his file within the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship.
That file is Zero-for-38 and counting.
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Fowler is not a child anymore, contemporary off the bike circuit. He has already lived by way of his 30th birthday, the purpose when a golfer’s organic clock begins tick, tick, ticking. So that you’d higher imagine that Fowler’s early share of the first-round lead on the U.S. Open at 5-under is a monumental occasion in his life, even when he desires to behave as if he’d simply completed a leisurely springtime stroll alongside the shores of Pebble Seaside.
“It was very stress free,” Fowler mentioned of his 66.
The U.S. Open is meant to be a variety of issues, however stress free is not amongst them. Fowler hit a variety of fairways and a variety of greens, sufficient to declare his rating “the worst I may have shot.” After which he walked right into a information convention anticipating, as all the time, to subject a number of questions on his failure to win any of his sport’s 4 annual Tremendous Bowls.
Fowler is greatest often known as his era’s most gracious American participant, without end sticking round to supply hearty handshakes and backslaps to countrymen Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods, you title him, after they’ve captured their main titles.
“It is a love-hate factor,” Fowler defined the opposite day. “You do not need to be there essentially congratulating the opposite guys; you need them being there congratulating you.”
It is excessive time Fowler landed on the best aspect of those scenes behind the 72nd gap. After he made his spirited back-nine run at Reed within the 2018 Masters, ending second by a stroke, Fowler mentioned, “I’m able to go win a serious. However this was form of the primary main week that I understood that, and know that, and felt that.”
On Thursday, earlier than Woods and two-time defending champ Brooks Koepka had even teed off, Fowler was reminded of that quote and, not directly, of the truth that he has just one top-10 end (T-9 at this 12 months’s Masters) within the 5 majors he has performed since.
“Yeah, that was a giant week,” he mentioned. “Clearly earlier than I might been in rivalry and been shut and been round and had alternatives earlier than, however to essentially form of take the chance head on — that again 9, the way in which I executed there was just like [Thursday], besides [this first round] was all 18 holes.
“You do not have to do something particular in majors. It is simply being disciplined and executing the shot that is at hand and what you are attempting to do. I believe it has been a protracted highway to get to the purpose the place majors felt like one other week, as a result of they’re greater. They’re majors. There’s lots happening. However no, it is time to soak all of it up and have some enjoyable.”
This has turn out to be a constant theme for Fowler — treating a serious as if it had been the Waste Administration Phoenix Open. Expertise, he mentioned, has been an excellent trainer when the stakes are excessive. Now, Fowler says he feels extra snug in majors, and higher geared up to maintain his regular tempo and rhythm when every thing begins to hurry up on Sunday afternoon.
However when he tried to elucidate that method earlier this 12 months in a Golf Channel episode of “Feherty,” the 18-time main champion sitting two seats to his left fired a one-iron shot in his course.
“I am undecided that taking each match the identical, Rickie, is precisely the way in which to win a serious,” Jack Nicklaus mentioned. “I took majors completely completely different than I did every other match.”
Nicklaus would in the end agree with Fowler’s evaluation participant shouldn’t overburden himself throughout the week of a serious, earlier than telling younger Rickie participant’s psychological and bodily preparation within the previous weeks must be formed by excessive urgency.
Stated Nicklaus: “You have to get it in your personal thoughts that, ‘This can be a main. I’ve received to win it. I’ve received to place myself in place. It is my flip. I’ve received to get it completed.'”
As he made these forceful feedback, Nicklaus punched his proper fist into his left palm 5 occasions.
Fowler maintained that he was successfully saying the identical issues as Nicklaus. Both method, Fowler must be taught to complete the way in which he begins in golf’s 4 huge ones. He’s the one participant on the planet with 10 under-par first rounds in majors since 2016. He has 34 rounds within the 60s in majors since 2014, placing him among the many sport’s high three.
That is why Fowler is the reigning Finest Participant To By no means Win A Main.
“It is not one thing that is going to outline me,” he mentioned.
As a human being? Completely not.
As a extremely expert skilled golfer?
You are rattling proper it should.