Rickie Fowler has done everything in the Majors apart from win one, and he spoke to Robin Barwick ahead of this week’s PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship lands at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the first time this week, where Rickie Fowler secured his maiden PGA Tour victory at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship after a three-way playoff with Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points. The 28-year-old Californian will thus start as one of the favourites for the final Major of the year.
“Quail is a special place,” says Fowler. “They have renovated the course and re-worked the first five holes and re-surfaced the greens.”
Fowler once again contended in the Majors this year. He was a shot off the third-round lead at the Masters in April and looked perfectly poised to convert his potential into Major glory. But it was not to be as he missed too many greens in the final round to close with 76 in a tie for 11th.
In the first round of the US Open at Erin Hills in June, an imperious 65 launched Fowler to the top of a Major leaderboard again. This time he was derailed by a second round 73 and he eventually finished tied for fifth.
“I have been playing at the highest level,” reflects Fowler. “You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, just because that doesn’t happen a whole lot. I have been playing well and done a lot of good things in executing my game plans.”
Fowler has come so close to Major success he can almost touch it, and in 2014 he became the first golfer since Tiger Woods to finish in the top five of all four of the year’s Majors; tied for fifth at the Masters; joint runner-up at the US Open behind Martin Kaymer; Fowler pushed McIlroy to the line at the Open, finishing tied for second place; and he temporarily held the final-round lead in the PGA Championship at Valhalla but couldn’t clinch the putts to keep up with McIlroy again. Fowler finished two shots behind and found the misses got more painful as they came.
“The PGA is the one that hurt most in 2014,” he admits. “In the first three it was a lot of fun to be in great positions and have great finishes, but at Valhalla I really felt I could win it. It stung. Still, to look back on the year, it was pretty awesome and something I can be proud of.”
“It beat us up [to have lost the PGA Championship],” said Joe Skovron, Fowler’s caddie. “We thought we were going to win that tournament. I wholeheartedly believed it; Rickie wholeheartedly believed it. But that’s what golf is.”
Thinking back to Valhalla three years ago, Fowler adds: “Rory played great in that PGA. He was a deserving champion, but I’ll see if I can sneak one away at some point.”
Rickie Fowler is a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador. Mercedes-Benz is a Global Sponsor of The Masters, Patron of The Open and Official Car of the PGA Championship