Rickie Fowler Struggled at US Open


Jun 19, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Tiger Woods (left) talks with Rickie Fowler (right) on the 12th tee box in the second round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Rickie Fowler was a popular pick to contend at the 2015 US Open. Vegas betting odds had Fowler at a 18-1 favorite to take home the first US Open in the Pacific Northwest. He had been having a pretty successful season so far, with the biggest win of his career coming back in May at the PLAYERS. Fowler placed in the top 10 in 3 of the 12 tournaments he’d played in 2015 and was poised to make a run at his first career major. Or so we thought.

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Fowler was paired with Tiger Woods, a pairing that many think might have affected Fowler’s psyche at Chambers Bay.  Let’s take a look at this reasoning, and other more statistical reasons why Fowler put up a couple big numbers in the Evergreen State this week.

We’ve all heard the expression in sports. Some people/teams play to the level of their competition, and perhaps this was the case with Fowler this week. One would assume that being a professional golfer, such petty circumstances wouldn’t have such an affect on your own game. This isn’t the teenage Rickie Fowler, with the long flowing locks of hair that all the ladies adored. He’s a seasoned pro with a notch in his belt that many consider the 5th major.

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  • However, there is nothing more maddening on a golf course than when you are playing at a decent clip, and your partner gets you placed on the clock. This was the case with Fowler, as Tiger limped his way around the fescue fairways outside of Tacoma. It’s hard not to believe that seeing the collapse of an athlete I assume was one of his heroes growing up might have altered Fowler’s game.

    Now let’s talk numbers. Fowler actually drove the ball pretty well in this, his coming out party as one of golf’s elite. The slender Fowler has never won a long drive competition, but this week he was actually about 8 yards longer off the tee than the field (312yds USOpen.com).

    He was relatively accurate off the tee as well, hitting 22 out of 28 fairways while he made his way around the Chambers Bay hillsides.

    Fowler’s putter didn’t hurt him either, as he finished around the middle of the field in average putts per hole. What was shocking, and what most of us thought would be a major advantage, were his struggles hitting and playing around the greens.

    Fowler is usually deadly with a wedge in his hand. Those wedges failed him this week though, as he hit only 20 of 36 greens in regulation in his 2 rounds of golf. That was good for 138th in the field (PGATour.com), and that’s just about where he finished score wise.

    With greens that resembled a $10 round of putt-putt instead of a major championship, ball placement and GIR’s were crucial. Drive for dough; putt, chip, and approach for dough. My rendition of this popular saying isn’t as smooth on the tongue, but perhaps it’s a more accurate representation of what this game really boils down too.

    My opinion is that Fowler just had one of those weeks. It’s happened to all of us and the pros are no different.

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