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Opinion & Analysis

Why it’s still too early to judge Rickie Fowler for his lack of wins

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Bryson DeChambeau is basking in his victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a win which saw him rise to fifth in the official world golf rankings. Amongst the praise DeChambeau has received, a post on social media last from Golf Channel’s Will Gray brought to attention the 25-year-old’s incredible run of form — while also highlighting Rickie Fowler’s lack of wins on the PGA Tour.

Once golf’s golden boy, Fowler has failed to claim a victory on the PGA Tour in over 18 months, and as the Californian approaches his 30th birthday, there is a sense that people are beginning to lose faith in Fowler.

Fowler ended his week in Vegas with an excellent round of eight-under par which saw him claim a T4 finish, and the American has now recorded five successive top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour dating back to early August. However, rightly or wrongly, Fowler has been labelled as a man who can’t close out tournaments. While previously there was a monkey on his back in regards to major championships, his winless streak stretching back to the 2017 Honda Classic has now brought to everyone’s attention his lack of overall victories.

The post from Gray took me back to a Cobra commercial that aired three years ago which involved Rickie Fowler and Greg Norman discussing their desire to “be the best.”

Just like Fowler, Norman is considered an underachiever in the game. You probably don’t need to be reminded about Norman’s major tally of two, regarded as a severely disappointing return for a man of his talent. But his total of 20 PGA Tour victories combined with his 331 weeks sitting atop the world golf rankings is enough to show that the Australian had an illustrious career.

Before Norman’s 30th birthday, the Australian had yet to capture a major championship. The current world number one, Justin Rose, has nine victories on the PGA Tour, but only broke through to win his first when he was 29, and his only major success so far came at the age of 32. While Phil Mickelson’s first of his five major triumphs also arrived at the age of 33.

For Fowler, he has plenty of time to change the narrative of his career. Amongst the new generation of prodigious young winners such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and now Bryson DeChambeau, the likes of Norman, Mickelson and Rose prove that there is still the opportunity for late bloomers to go down as golfing greats.

The growing negative judgement that has begun to wrap itself around Fowler may be the American’s biggest hurdle to overcome. It wasn’t that long ago that Dustin Johnson was being branded as a major championship choke artist by some, before he changed the narrative with a brilliant display at Oakmont to win his maiden major title.

Fowler has far less scar tissue to deal with than Johnson did, particularly at major championships. While it’s convenient for some to conclude that as he approaches his 30th year he has failed to live up to both the hype and promise that was displayed when he first broke onto the Tour, history suggests that the Californian still has plenty of time to create his legacy in the sport.

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. sam

    Nov 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Fowler — nice person, treat people with respoect, loves his family, loved by the fans and media, rich, beautiful loving fiance. He is about as big a winner as you can have in my book.

  2. Gianni = Bum Blaster?

    Nov 7, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Or is he a que er with a fat girlfriend?

  3. Greg V

    Nov 6, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Gianni,

    I think that you are grasping at straws here. Greg Norman didn’t play against a field as deep with talent as Rickie faces week in and week out. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and yes, Bryson DeChambeau are some of the reasons that Rickie will have a tough time winning more than one major, if he wins that.

    • Don7936

      Nov 6, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      Lame article…Fowler is eminently more successful in his profession than the “writer” of this snarky article is.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole (Ep 59): Exclusive with new President of the PGA Suzy Whaley and Matt Ginella

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Suzy Whaley, the first woman elected President of the PGA of the America, gives an exclusive one-on-one interview on this week’s episode on The 19th Hole with Michael Williams. Also featured: Travel Insider Matt Ginella of the Golf Channel and Golf Advisor.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Quail Hollow Golf Course in Boise, Idaho

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was posted by GolfWRX member PixlPutterman, who submitted Quail Hollow Golf Course in Boise, Idaho as his hidden gem of a golf course. PixlPutterman calls Quail Hollow a “target golfers dream,” and judging by his description of the 18 hole course, it’s easy to see why.

“Nestled in the foothills at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. The course is kept in country club level condition and is very challenging. Its a target golfers dream, you can play it with about six clubs and you rarely “need” a driver. Greens are in great shape, and there are some great elevation holes. Pic (below) was taken from the Champion Tee on the 18th Hole. You basically tee off over two other holes, and the view is AWESOME.”

According to Quail Hollow Golf Course’s website, a weekend round with a cart at the course nestled in the Boise foothills will cost you $48, while playing during the week is just $44. Both senior and twilight rates come in at around $39.

@Ron_White

@fnf2017

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Opinion & Analysis

Redkacheek’s DFS Rundown: 2018 RSM Classic

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We did it again (times two)! Matt Kuchar came through for us last week allowing us to cash our 66-1 outright tickets for our fourth outright winner in only six weeks. We also added Spaun (12-1) and Werenski (28-1) top fives for a total of 100x at Mayakoba! This was one of our most exciting tournaments to watch as several members were sweating their DFS lineups throughout the weekend. Huge shout out to everyone who had a big week at Mayakoba!

This week, the FGB podcast covers some of our betting strategies and then further breaks down the field for the RSM Classic. Definitely give that a listen if you prefer to digest material in an audio format. Of course, you can always find me on Twitter (@Redkacheek), and I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the course. Here are the details of the course for The RSM Classic.

Course Snapshot

Course: Sea Island Resort (Seaside)
City: St. Simons Island, Georgia
Par: 70
Length: 7,005
Course Difficulty: 69.24 (35th)
Birdie Average: 3.43 (16th)
Birdie or Better Percentage: 19.47% (16th)

Course Rankings (OFF THE TEE)

SG: Tee-to-Green: N/A
SG: Off-the-Tee: N/A
Driving Distance: 288.8 (11th)
Driving Accuracy: 72.05% (48th)

Course Rankings (APPROACH TO THE GREEN)

SG: Approach-the-Green: N/A
GIR Percentage: 73.62 (46th)
Proximity to Hole: 35’ 8” (19th)
Rough Proximity: 45’ 5” (17th)
Fairway Proximity: 32’ 5” (16th)

Course Rankings (AROUND THE GREEN)

SG: Around-the-Green: N/A
Sand Save Percentage: 49.35% (24th)
Scrambling Percentage: 55.77% (16th)

Course Rankings (PUTTING)

SG: Putting: N/A
Putting Average: 1.797 (12th)
One-Putt Percentage: 33.11% (5th)
3-Putt Avoidance: 2.79 (32nd)
Putting – Inside 10’: 89.02% (36th)
Putting from – > 25’: 6.59% (35th)

This course has also played very consistent over the years, and that is great for us as we dig into the key stats. The main takeaways are driving accuracy and GIR percentage are both high. DA percentage was at 72 percent last year and GIR percentage was 74 percentage. The real trick is the difficulty with proximity from 125 to 200 yards being ranked inside the top 10 of most difficult in 2018. For that reason, I am really focusing on guys with strong proximity numbers with their irons.

As far as the rest of the course, there is not a ton that stands out. Scrambling is certainly difficult, but like I mentioned before these greens are hard to MISS so I am not weighing any scrambling stats. The only other key stat that this course highlights for me is par 4 scoring on 400-to-450 yard holes. Of course, I always include course history, so definitely take a look at recent years’ results to see who tends to show up here time and time again.

I will note that this tournament is played on two courses: Seaside and Plantation. Plantation will only be seen once by the players (either Thursday or Friday), but if you are looking to play Single Round Showdown contests or even just FRL bets, I would highly encourage you to keep your focus on the Plantation course as it played as one of the easiest courses in 2018.

As you can see, iron play, specifically proximity, is going to be critical this week, so here are my key stats for the week

  • SG: T2G
  • SG: APP
  • Par 4 Scoring (400-450)
  • Proximity (150 – 175)
  • Proximity (125 – 150)
  • Proximity (175 – 200)
  • *Recent Form
  • **Course History

The last two are not so much stat driven but should certainly be considered when building out your player pool. I use course history as a gauge but not a be-all and end-all, and same goes for recent form where I like to SEE which guys have some momentum (good or bad) coming into this week.

I am going to list out the top cash and GPP plays in each price range to help you get a better picture of how to build your lineups…

Expensive

Webb Simpson ($11,800) (GPP)
J.J. Spaun ($10,400) (GPP)
Lucas Glover ($9,900) (Cash/GPP)
C.T. Pan ($9,000) (Cash/GPP)
Russell Henley ($9,500) (GPP)

Mid-tier

Joaquin Niemann ($8,900) (Cash/GPP)
Sam Ryder ($8,600) (Cash/GPP)
Chris Kirk ($8,500) (Cash/GPP)
Jim Furyk ($8,200) (GPP)
Sungjae Im ($8,000) (GPP)

Value

Bud Cauley ($7,900) (GPP)
Richy Werenski ($7,800) (GPP)
Stewart Cink ($7,700) (Cash/GPP)
Bronson Burgoon ($7,700) (GPP)
Michael Thompson ($7,600) (GPP)
Brian Gay ($7,500) (Cash/GPP)
Ryan Armour ($7,500) (GPP)
Kramer Hickok ($7,400) (GPP)
Anders Albertson ($7,300) (GPP)

Super VALUE

Stephan Jaeger ($6,800) (GPP)
Joel Dahmen ($6,900) (Cash/GPP)
Carlos Ortiz ($6,800) (GPP)
Tom Lovelady ($6,500) (GPP)

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19th Hole

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