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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  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.”

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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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