Despite his fame and recognition, Rickie Fowler is currently 71st in the OWGR and has the unfortunate displeasure of being on pretty much everyone’s “Best Player Not To Win A Major” list, an accolade that no player wants.
So how has Rickie Fowler’s reputation and name led to such high expectations?
Fowler is and has been one of the most recognizable figures in golf for the last fifteen years. Whether Fowler gives you memories of his iconic Sunday orange or flashbacks to the ‘Golf Boys’ music video, few golf fans would raise an eyebrow at the mention of his name.
Before turning professional in 2009 Fowler had an illustrious amateur career with all the hallmarks of a future superstar. Fowler made two Walker Cup appearances (winning both and earning a combined record of 7-1) and was the number one ranked amateur in the world for 36 weeks thanks to wins at the Sunnehanna Amateur and Players Amateur.
Fowler is in good company with major winners Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, and Matthew Fitzpatrick all having enjoyed a reign as the number-one ranked amateur in the world.
Three years after making the leap to professional golf Fowler secured his first PGA Tour win with a playoff victory over Rory McIlroy at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2012.
In 2014 Rickie Fowler had a sensational run in the majors by finishing T5 at the Masters, T2 at the US Open, T2 at the Open, and T3 at the PGA Championship.
The next year Fowler won the Players Championship and secured his first European Tour win at the Scottish Open.
Between 2015 and 2019 Rickie Fowler only missed 17 cuts.
That was during a span of 105 events, equating to making the cut in 84% of events. In the three seasons that followed Fowler missed 24 cuts out of 60 events, meaning he missed the cut in 40% of the events he played in.
Between 2011 and 2020 Rickie Fowler competed in every single major tournament. Unfortunately, this run came to an end at the start of the 2021 major season after Fowler’s exemptions began to expire and his OWGR fell, resulting in Fowler only appearing in three of the eight majors taking place in 2021 and 2022.
Fowler retained his tour card at the end of the 2022 season by the thinnest of margins, finishing an overall 125th in the FedEx Cup, bagging the last available spot, and finishing the season at 103rd in the OWGR, his lowest season finish since 2009.
This finish seemingly struck alarm bells with Fowler as he tinkered with his team setup during the close season before the 2023 schedule started.
Fowler parted ways with his caddy of 13 years and went back to old habits by rehiring his previous swing coach, Butch Harmon. Whether it’s the new advice on the bag or the fresh critiquing on the range, the changes have quickly paid off.
In the nine events he’s played this season Rickie Fowler has made eight cuts, recorded three top-10s, and attained a T2 to already deposit over 2,000,000 in the bank.
Despite a few tough years, at long last everything looks to be moving in the right direction for Rickie Fowler. However, Fowler will be hungry for more and will be turning his eye to the majors:
- To earn an invitation to this year’s Masters, Fowler will need to either win a PGA Tour event or climb 21 places in order to be in the top 50 of the OWGR by the 27th of March, 2023.
- To secure a place at the PGA Championship, Fowler will need to either win a PGA Tour event or be in the top 70 leaders in official money between the 2022 PGA Championship and two weeks before the 2023 PGA Championship.
- To secure a place at the US Open, Fowler will need to either win a PGA Tour event or climb 11 places to be in the top 60 of the OWGR by the 22nd of May, 2023.
- To secure a place at the Open Championship, Fowler will need to either win a PGA Tour event or climb 21 places to be in the top 50 of the OWGR.
These may be big asks but they are by no means impossible feats for one of golf’s biggest names.
With two more designated events before the first major, and several other events to earn OWGR points in, it rests in Fowler’s hands. Whatever happens, Rickie Fowler is one to watch over the next few months.
This week, Fowler will be aiming to silence the critics and secure his second Players Championship victory; which would open the door to all of this year’s majors.