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19th Hole

Rickie Fowler’s U.S. Open qualifying bid agonizingly crushed on final hole…but all may not be lost

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For the second year in succession, Rickie Fowler will likely not be teeing it up at the U.S. Open, which takes place next week at The Country Club in Brookline.

Monday began with Rickie Fowler’s name in the headlines, albeit not for his appearance at the U.S Open qualifying event in Jupiter, Florida.

Early in the day, Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner broke the news that Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler would both be joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series. Sure enough, soon after, Mickelson officially announced his participation in the opening event to take place this week in London.

With the golf world waiting on Fowler’s status, the 33-year-old set about qualifying for the year’s third major, getting off to a disastrous start.

With just four spots up for grabs in Jupiter, Fowler almost played himself out of contention early on, playing the opening four holes in three over par. The Californian then rallied on his back nine with four birdies before carding a double on his last hole to sign for an opening round of 2-over. 

Needing something special in his second round, Fowler gave himself hope, getting to 3-under for his round through 12 holes. A bogey on 13 looked to put pay to his chances before late rallying birdies on 16 and 17 meant that a birdie on his final hole would take him into a playoff against amateur Fred Biondi to determine who would take their spot in next week’s event.

Fowler looked set to complete the fine comeback, with 8 feet for birdie separating himself from the playoff. Unfortunately, what happened next was not in the script, with Fowler lipping out the putt to seemingly end his U.S. Open qualifying hopes.

Ironically, it would be the second major of the year that Rickie has missed out on playing thanks to a lip out after a missed par putt on the 72nd hole at last year’s PGA Championship caught a piece of the hole but refused to drop to cost him a place in this year’s Masters tournament.

Following his final round on Monday, Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner spoke to Fowler, who rued his opening round but stated that he was encouraged with the way he performed during the final round.

Fowler revealed to Lavner that he was looking forward to taking some time off following an appearance at his sponsor’s Puma HQ on Tuesday and that his stance has still not changed on the “intriguing” LIV Golf option.

In a late twist, however, Fowler arrived back at the course on Tuesday morning in a bid to grab an alternate spot in next week’s field.

With two of the contenders not bothering to turn up, Fowler had a couple of men to beat in Steve Marino and Tom Lewis, and he did just that with a birdie on the fourth extra hole, to take first alternate spot.

Maybe we will still see Rickie at Brookline next week!

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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Carolyn

    Jun 7, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Fowler Has not returned to form sense getting married Spith had same Trouble. Just like LPGA players loose so much when they get married….many just never have the will or time to regain their top game.

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19th Hole

Brandel Chamblee reveals the golf legend that stopped talking to him once he became an analyst

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There hasn’t been anyone in golf media that’s been tougher on LIV Golf than Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

Since the inception of LIV, Chamblee has said it “makes him want to puke”, has called the players who’ve gone to LIV “the greediest, most self-serving, self-interested, willfully blind players in the world of golf today” and has also said “As far as I know, it’s never happened that an athlete has been kicked out of their Hall Of Fame but both Norman and Mickelson should be removed from the Hall Of Fame”.

In an interview with “The Sunday Times” over the weekend, Chamblee talked about his previous relationship with Greg Norman and how that’s changed.

“But there are some things that are indefensible. Before he was commissioner of LIV, Greg was sending me very laudatory texts about my work, saying things like: ‘It’s nice to have a strong voice in the game’. It’s funny how his opinion changed. Honestly, I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”

Chamblee has never been afraid to speak his mind on television, and that’s cost him some relationships over the years.

“Absolutely, I’ve lost friendships because of what I’ve said. It’s not like I was friends with Vijay [Singh], but I practiced with him and the minute I went on TV, he was like: ‘You’ve gone to the dark side’ and immediately quit talking to me. 

The nature of my job is to be forensic and investigative to get to the bottom of why people do what they do in the game of golf.”

The 60-year-old also spoke about his former friendship with Scott McCaron and how it deteriorated over his public opinion in regard to the “anchoring” rule.

“I was friends with Scott McCarron when I played the Tour but we got in crossways because of how I viewed the anchoring rule. I’m sure I had reservations about being critical early on, but my responsibility is to the audience. As much as I enjoy being around the players, I’d rather not be friends with them because I don’t want to go on the air and say critical things about someone I like.”

One of the most controversial statements Chamblee has made was at the 2013 BMW Championship when he suggested Tiger Woods intentionally cheated and was met with threats of legal action as a result.

“As I’ve said a million times, TV is not unlike golf,” Chamblee says. “Sometimes you get things wrong. I could have handled it more diplomatically.”

Whether you agree or disagree with Chamblee, there’s no question that he speaks his mind. With LIV Golf set to begin on February 24th, we can expect him to continue to make strong statements about the rival circuit.

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19th Hole

‘It happens in every single sport’ – Jon Rahm weighs in on golf’s distance debate with interesting take

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The distance debate in golf has been rumbling on for years, and now one of the most dominant players in the sport has had his say.

According to Jon Rahm, players getting bigger and stronger has been the most important factor when it comes to the steady increase in driving distance on the PGA Tour.

While speaking on the Fore Play Podcast, “Rahmbo” gave his thoughts on the debate in golf: have we gone too far with distance?

“Technology is just a little bit better. I get it, but overall, we’re all better athletes. It happens in every single sport. There’s actually a tech talk about how much better athletes are nowadays for the most part, but then technology is allowing for these things.

“They said, if Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt on their records would have run together, the difference would have been minimal, minimal right, and that was in 1936. So compared to user involvement in 2009 I mean, just think about (American) football players, it’s the same thing. Basketball hasn’t changed since the 80s, so it’s going to happen to every sport. Tennis, you watch McEnroe to how they’re playing Wimbledon. It’s a completely different sport.”

“Now, in our case, I think what they’re doing, which is trying to stretch golf courses, is only going to feed into people hitting it longer, period. It’s getting to a point where if you have long rough and 520 yard par 4s, you’re going to need to hit it 340 because otherwise you’re not going to get to the green in any other way.

“So they’re feeding it into us that we are needing to hit it longer. And I think it hinders the game when they try to roll back the ball and change things, with the technology of the clubs. We’re going to get to a point where I will be the smallest on Tour. You’re gonna get people who are six-foot-five, JJ Watt looking people, who are going to be hitting it 380 down the centre, like it’s eventually going to get to something like that.”

Eddie Pepperell and Padraig Harrington weighed in on Rahm’s comments via Twitter.

Whether or not you agree with Rahm, the distance debate doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

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19th Hole

A Women’s Masters could be on the way if this latest Augusta National rumor is to be believed

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It’s no surprise that just a couple of weeks away from LIV’s first event of 2023, they are in the news at every opportunity.

On Saturday, golf bloggers @Tour_Junkies tweeted a bit of a shocker:

The tweet received nearly 70,000 views but replies varied from the shocked to those denying it ever happened.

The suggestion was that the pairing of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore would be involved in the design for LIV, but that was yet another rumor denied by many on the social media site.

Instead, a few hours later, Tour Junkies revealed the land may have been bought by another organisation, this time, Shell and Augusta National themselves:

Almost three years ago, businessinsider.com revealed Augusta has spent $200 million snapping up land surrounding the golf course over the past 20 years, so this new purchase may simply be one of many, revealed simply as nothing seems hidden in this internet age.

However, and here goes yet another golfing rumor, the land is said to have been purchased to host a Women’s Masters in the future – something unheard of in previous years, but yet another potential addition to the recently enhanced LPGA tour, now with a total prize fund of over $100 million.

For that, Augusta may well enlist former Masters champion Crenshaw and his partner.

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