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Banter: Rickie Fowler doesn’t care about winning or catering to the press

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Some of the post-U.S. Open murmuring from the golfspace this morning (beyond Skip Bayless): Two big bogeys from tournament first-round leader Rickie Fowler.

Yes, the root cause of his failing to get the job done Sunday was hitting just 61 percent of greens and missing key putts, but some are questioning his underlying attitude following his post-tournament remarks.

In a week where we’re combing player remarks for signs of apathy in the wake of Steve Elkington’s suggestion “Rory McIlroy is bored” and the ensuing firestorm, Fowler won’t have extinguished such questions with these comments.

As a preface: A player ought to stay in the present. Stay positive. All that good stuff, yes. But when you have a chance to win the U.S. Open, as Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker points out, you ought to seem disappointed when you don’t get the job done.

Instead, of sounding like, say Brian Harman who also couldn’t catch Koepka, Fowler said things like…

“It was nice to finish with some good swings…I feel like golf-wise I’m playing at the highest level. If you look at the negatives too much, I mean, you’re going to be stuck doing that the whole time.”

True, but does that mean you shouldn’t acknowledge the negative of, you know, not winning. Or is not winning not a negative?

“No real negatives. I wish I would have been able to give myself a few more looks out there today and make a few more birdies, but we came out swinging well.”

No real negatives? What about not playing well enough to win?

“You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, just because that doesn’t happen a whole lot. I think Tiger had the best winning percentage of all time at 30 percent, and you’re lucky to even sniff close to 10.” 

Factually true, yes. You have to measure improvement in ways other than just winning. But success? Isn’t winning the ultimate metric? And major success the only record of the game’s best?

“You kind of have to say, Hey, it’s a major. We played well this week. I felt like I did a lot of good things, especially in the first round, executing my game plan..to finish in double digits under par at a major championship, especially the Open, it was a good week.”

Again, take the positives. Sure. And maybe Fowler is just extremely quick at working through things. But I think fans would like to see a bit more bitterness and disappointment at the front end—suggestions he’ll rue the fact he let the U.S. Open slip through his grasp.

Also, some perceived bad stuff from one of the best guys in the game, and something that slipped underneath the radar. Fowler skipped the press center following his opening-round 65.

While this may not be a big deal, it’s not a great precedent when one of the most interesting and engaging players on Tour fails to talk to the press pen following a brilliant round. Yes, he did some post-round interviews for TV, but Fowler passed on the formal sit-down.

And again, this may be something that’s less troubling to some, and it may be largely a function of the shifting media landscape, but if top players follow suit, we may lose one of the most unique and significant elements of our game and be left with a few standard soundbites in reply to predictable questions instead.

Big deals? Maybe, maybe not. But both are topics of discussion today.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Scott

    Jun 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I understand what Ben is getting at. Having a great chance to win a major does not come around all of the time. I would have expected to hear that he was disappointed, at the least. He sounds like me trying to rationalize a bad stretch of holes.

    However it was a good week for him. He made lots of $$$$

  2. Dave R

    Jun 22, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Typical reporter no mind . Hey Brandel is looking for a side kick mabey go join him. Worst artical I have read on here.

  3. nyguy

    Jun 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I guess rickie should just hang it up then, haha, what a ridiculous article.

  4. Kevin

    Jun 22, 2017 at 12:22 am

    This might be the most absurd column I’ve ever read. You should talk to your coworkers before you ever post something like this again.

  5. WayneJetski

    Jun 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read.

  6. Dave

    Jun 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Really a poor understanding of competitive golf…I am sure the writer is a golfer, is a member of a club, or plays at a place which holds a local championship. Go ask the guy that won, how a fierce desire to win, displayed in an interview, would improve his chances of winning again.

  7. SoonerSlim

    Jun 21, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Like the fact that Rickie is focusing on the positive. I’m sure he is disappointed, but what you say has a lot to do with your success. Don’t bash him for taking the positives and not whimpering down for the press. He’ll learn from his mistakes. He’s a fantastic talent and great for golf.

  8. Tom54

    Jun 21, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Rickie Fowler is maybe most popular player right now for many reasons. Yes he has a product and that is himself. But he is a class player with all the fans, upfront interviews with the media, is a big draw, etc. He seems to be having a nice time out there and makes a super living doing it. He wants to win with the best of them so the fact that he’s not really bothered when he doesn’t I think is a plus. Was not always his biggest fan but have become one. He’s still young and he’s got nothing but time on his side

  9. chisag

    Jun 21, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Written like a true critic. Those that come down from the safety of the mountain after the battle and shoot the wounded.

  10. LD

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I would love to see these golfers drop some tired baseball cliches at their conference, just to piss off these useless “journalists”.
    “We gotta take em one game at a time.” “I’m just here to help the ball club.”

  11. michael

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

    This article has to have the highest shank:like ratio of any WRX article ever.

  12. JThunder

    Jun 20, 2017 at 5:32 am

    And Elkington needs to STFU.

    Rory has 4 majors – at age 28 – to Elkington’s 1.

    I guess Elk must have been even more bored than Rory.

    I guess, like Jack, when you can’t play any more, having an opinion on everything is all you have left.

    • li0scc0

      Jun 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      I respect Jack’s opinion 18x more (actually about 12348912074203472304x more) than Elkington’s.

  13. JThunder

    Jun 20, 2017 at 5:27 am

    The media – especially bloggers – are happier when golfers are throwing clubs and making angry statements. That’s why they all love Daly and Woods so much. Even TV broadcasts deliberately let the profanity “slip” through, to stir it up and give people something to complain about. This all equals click-bait, “interaction”, and all the other useless BS the media and the corporate world are obsessed with.

    These days, if you’re not hate-Tweeting at 2AM, you’re not news.

    The fans “want to see bitterness”? Geez, get a grip.

    Want proof the media is making the world a worse place, look no further.

  14. kmck

    Jun 19, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Reminder: There are two majors left this year and many more important events. If he sits here and beats himself up this early on, his mindset will only be worse going forward. IMO, this interview showed maturity from a golf standpoint in that he knows how to maintain a positive attitude and potentially win going forward.

  15. Steve

    Jun 19, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Big deals? No

  16. PG

    Jun 19, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    This is the glimpse of a pro mindset vs a blogger’s. It takes all different types.

  17. GolfAholic

    Jun 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    So the first part of the article, you complain about not giving the press the quotes that they want when he does talk, then you finish the article complaining that the didn’t go to a presser after his round on Day 1??? #neverhappy

  18. Biff

    Jun 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    You think anyone cares what players say in post-round press conferences? It’s all cliches. Stop being so butt-hurt when you don’t get your boring quotes nobody is going to read anyway.

  19. Mike

    Jun 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    This is absurd. Do you think he was happy to not be holding the trophy? Just because he wasn’t belligerently disappointed the media jumps to conclusions. No one was beating Koepka on Sunday. Period.

    • mlecuni

      Jun 19, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Maybe he has no emotion about it because he doesn’t care ?
      Kardashian way of living or multi-major wins, may be he, and others in the top 15 world ranking have already made their choise.
      This game in this part of the world is losing his spirit.

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Think you had a bad weekend on the course? At least you didn’t do this

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We hope this golfer didn’t take the ultra-premium golf equipment plunge before sending his clubs to a watery grave. Either way, this was an expensive (and strangely calm) reaction to a bad round.

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19th Hole

Tiger Woods battles terrifying deep-sea creature, wins

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With four tweets since July 21st, Tiger Woods is exposing himself on social media in a way we haven’t seen.

And with his latest tweet, he’s…exposing himself in a way we haven’t seen.

A shirtless-and-swimsuited Woods appears holding what he purports to be a lobster (but what looks more like a monster of the deep sea).

Nothing like it, indeed.

He’s lucky to have escaped with his life after battling that horrifying crustacean. Spiny lobsters, apparently, don’t have claws, but somehow that doesn’t make them any less terrifying, as they look poised to impale you and carry you off to their reefy lairs.

Not sure how big the beast in Woods grasp actually is, but it pales in comparison to this 14-pound creature from your nightmares.

14_pound_lobster_caught_near_Bermuda_0_48217534_ver1.0_640_480Anyway, Woods has been on something of a grand tour of late it seems, taking in a friendly version of El Clasico in Miami and posing with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

All of this is good to see. It was two months ago that Woods entered rehab following his now-infamous Memorial Day arrest for impaired driving.

What this portends for his future on the golf course is unclear, but you’d assume the 14-time major champion is feeling pretty good if he’s free diving after monsters of the deep.

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19th Hole

Steph Curry did anything but embarrass himself in Web.com Tour debut

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Vegas set the over/under on Steph Curry’s opening round at the Ellie Mae Classic at 76.5.

And Curry didn’t sound like the confident man who’s perennially ready to hoist a 3-pointer from any distance in his post-practice round press conference yesterday.

But when he stepped inside the ropes as a competitor, the Golden State Warriors point guard was very much the man who does things like this

Which is really impressive, considering this post-round quote:

“As soon as he said my name on the first tee, I couldn’t feel anything. After about four holes I settled down.”

So, if you bet the over, you can’t be blamed. Curry, however, had other plans for his debut, getting around par-70 TPC Stonebrae in 74 strokes.

After starting off with a bogey (and a tee shot that landed in a golf cart cup holder), Curry played his remaining 17 holes in a respectable three over. That’s pretty damn good.

The highlight was a curling birdie putt at the par-3 sixth hole (his 15th of the day). Jordan Spieth’s fellow Under Armour sponsee celebrated with a variation on Spieth’s “go get that” Open command (per ESPN’s Michael Collins)

Curry channels Spieth. (Credit to Michael Collins)

Curry channels Spieth. (Credit to Michael Collins)

Curry plays to a 0.6 handicap, did excellent work at TPC Stonebrae, it has to be said. And while he was tied for 141st at the time he completed his round, his plus-4 round placed him four strokes off the cut-line pace and ahead of a handful of pros.

Enjoy a few highlights of No. 30’s 74, courtesy of the Web.com Tour. As you can see, Curry’s shots aren’t dripping with tour pro precision (yet), but the man is a solid scrambler and a gritty competitor.

Well played, Mr. Curry.

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