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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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Opinion & Analysis

This stat indicates Tiger Woods will win major 15 in 2019

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For Tiger Woods’ fans, it’s been over 10 years waiting for his 15th major victory. Even with PGA Tour win No. 80, plenty are already looking ahead to next year’s major.

Looking into Tiger’s performance at the majors in 2018, and more recently the PGA Championship, there’s exciting news for his fans. Tiger briefly held the lead at this year’s Open Championship, only to finish in a tie for sixth. But, it’s his performance at the PGA Championship, when he stormed home for second place thanks to a final round 64, and the recent statistics behind that tournament, that will get his legion of supporters brimming with confidence.

Going back to 2015, strong performances at the PGA Championship have proven to be a great form line for the following year’s major winners. In fact, if you go back further into the records, it extends for several years prior as well. Let’s take a look at recent PGA Championship results and the players that emerged from those performances that lead to major victory the next year.

The 2017 PGA Championship was one of the strongest forms lines in recent years. Justin Thomas won the tournament by two shots, but Patrick Reed, and Francisco Molinari tied for second. Reed went on to win this year’s Masters and Molinari won the Open Championship to capture their first major championships.

At the 2016 PGA Championship, Jimmy Walker surprised the field with victory, but an emerging talent in Brooks Koepka finished tied for fourth and would go on to secure his 1st major in 2017 by winning the U.S. Open. Interesting, Patrick Reed and Francisco Molinari were also just outside the top-10.

The 2015 PGA Championship was won by Jason Day, but current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished tied for seventh. Dustin went on to win his first major, the U.S. Open, the following year at the Oakmont Country Club. Also worth noting: Jordan Spieth finished second to Jason Day and went close to winning the Masters the next year only to finish in second place.

Fast forward to this year’s PGA Championship where Tiger finished second behind Brooks Koepka. Is it a sign that his 10-year major drought could end in 2019? And don’t forget, if Tiger has a great chance in 2019, then surely players that finished around him in that tournament, such as Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland, must have high hopes for 2019 too?

All this is true and only time will tell if the tournament form line stacks up.

Anyway you look at the 2018 PGA Championship results, it’s a great form line for 2019, and Tiger could well be in the mix in the big ones next year. With his body coping well with the rigors of the tough PGA Tour circuit, Tiger Woods’ fans can be feeling good about his chances for the 2019 season.

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio

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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 submitted by GolfWRX member JimGantz, who takes us to Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio. Just 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Boulder Creek features over 100 feet of elevation changes, and when you look at the photos of the course, it’s easy to see why this track landed in our hidden gem thread. JimGantz gives us a concise description of the course, praising it for its nice blend of different hole types.

“Conditions are always top notch. Fluffy bunkers, thick-ish rough.  Staff are super friendly. Good mix of long and short holes which is something I like. I’m not a huge fan of playing a course where every par 3 is over 200yds. This track mixes it up.”

According to Boulder Creek Golf Club’s website, 18 holes with a cart from Monday-Thursday will set you back $40, while to play on the weekend costs $50. Seniors can play the course for as little as $25 during the week.

@BoulderCreekOH

@amgolferblog

@troymezz

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

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Flightscope’s Alex Trujillo on why all golfers need shot data technology

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In this episode of the GearDive, Johnny chats with Alex Trujillo Sr. Sales Manager for Flightscope about understanding data, how information can make sense to your average golfer, why everyone should utilize data, and the downside of too much data.

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

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