Is Rickie Fowler Ready to Be Rory McIlroy’s Rival?


There’s nothing better in sports then a good old fashioned rivalry.  Baseball has the Yankees and the Red Sox, football has the Seahawks and the 49ers, and in hockey it’s the Rangers and the Islanders.  Those are the games everyone wants to see, and golf is no different.  Jack Nicklaus had Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods has Phil Mickelson.  There’s no such thing as a great player without his nemesis.  We know who dominates the sport now, but is there anyone to challenge him?

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Rory McIlroy is sitting on golf’s mountain top, but for some reason we think Rickie Fowler is the one who is the closest to knocking him off.  After top five finishes in all four of the majors of 2014, 2015 is supposed to be a big year for him.  So far he’s yet to find his grove, but things don’t get serious till we drive down Magnolia Lane anyway.  Both he and McIlroy have been tied together for years.  So far the advantage goes to Rory, and it’s not even close.

"“It’s good with me with him obviously being the best player in the world.  If I’m being compared against him it’s a good thing” Fowler said.   “I’ve got a little catching up to do as far as wins, and getting some majors to be really compared on the same level.”"

Their so called rivalry is more of a fantasy than reality.  You can’t overlook Fowler’s 2014 season, but it pales to comparison to Rory’s back-to-back major wins.  Another overwhelming stat is that Rory has won four majors and Rickie has just one PGA Tour win.  We may want this to be Ohio State vs. Michigan but in reality it’s more like Ohio State vs. Purdue.

When you really think about it, Fowler may not even be the best of the young guns to challenge McIlroy.  Patrick Reed has won four times in three years, Billy Horshel just won the FedEx Cup, and Jordan Spieth is five years younger, with the same amount of wins, and a better Ryder Cup record.  To just anoint him the biggest rival to McIlroy is ridiculous considering that plenty others have the credentials for the role, and even Fowler understands that.  “There are a lot of great young players right now and I guess Rory and I are the two talked about the most.”

For now we will continue to link the two together, but without victories that conversation won’t last too much longer.  Last year was a big step for Fowler but he needs to do more, and that means he needs to win.  He can challenge in majors and make the Presidents Cup but a victory is what we really need to se from him.  Someone like McIlroy everything doesn’t create a rivalry, it creates dominance.  If he is really going to be the rival we’ve all anointed him as, then he needs to do his part and do what McIlroy does.  He needs to win.

"“I may need to get some more wins to really earn and deserve that spot, he’s obviously the best player in the world and it’s going to be enjoyable to play against him for the rest of my career.”"

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