Rickie Fowler is quickly turning the page following another Major Championship heartbreak.
Golf is a game of highs and lows. Over the period of a round, a tournament, or your game in general- consistency can be few and far between for even some of the best golfers in the world. A mentally and physically demanding sport like golf can have you at the top of the world for one moment, and back with the crowd watching someone else receive the trophy hyped to be yours the next.
No one may be feeling this concept right now quite like Rickie Fowler.
Fowler’s first three rounds of the 123rd U.S. Open were full of record-breaking moments and steady momentum. While the golf world held its breath to see if Fowler could keep up his first-round scores, he soared into the second, third, and eventually fourth rounds at the top of the leaderboard.
While there were several great storylines set up for any of the contending players, Rickie Fowler’s no doubt stood out the most. It was his time to put away his first-ever Major win. Until it wasn’t; it was Wyndham Clark’s time.
If Fowler felt bitter watching his playing partner win the first Major of his career, he didn’t show it. Instead, he showed nothing but class and sportsmanship.
As the former Okie embraced Clark with open arms, he shared a tender moment with the new Major winner.
“Your mom was with you. She’d be very proud,” Fowler shared with reporters post-round what he told Clark in the embrace.
Fowler’s final round was a stark difference from his previous three, recording a 75 after staying at par or better the three rounds prior. In that final round, Fowler said he felt like he was “fighting through it all day” after various aspects of his game let him down throughout the 18 holes.
“I just didn’t have it today. Iron play was very below average and didn’t make anything. That’s a big thing in majors, especially on a Sunday. Making putts and kind of keeping it fairly stress-free,” Rickie Fowler said after recording his worst round of the weekend and the worst score of the top-19 finishers.
His press conference and post-round confessions were not all fixating on the negative aspects of his game, nor should they have been.
"“I definitely think we’re heading the right direction. It’s been nice to be back and have chances in tournaments or at least getting solid finishes and turning weeks that maybe not having my best stuff and maybe finish top 20 or top 10 or whatever it may be.”"
The former Cowboy is right- he is heading in the right direction, and he did not need a Major win to prove that; his season this year already has.
He’s back in the top 50 in the Official World Golf ranking for the first time in two years, where he currently sits at 35. He entered the U.S. Open at 45. His status will allow him to play in The Open next month; marking three of four Major participations this year for Fowler.
For the season, he already has more top-10 finishes and earnings than his last three seasons combined. He knows how much success the past year has brought him and he is choosing to focus on that rather than focusing on losing another Major that was just within reach.
“The last 10, 12 months has been great. I’m heading the right direction, and we’re still going forward and up,” Fowler added.
Rickie Fowler knows his career is not defined by the number of Major wins fumbled or the slumps, but rather by how his game recovers from these slumps.
"“After going through the last few years, I’m not scared to fail.” – Rickie Fowler"
His mindset is important and shows how learning from the lows of the game can help one make mental adjustments to improve their play.
Rickie Fowler is not expecting or demanding a big win of himself, but rather the success he is steadily building for himself. It may not be the flashiest mindset, but it is proving to be the right one.
Fowler will tee off Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET for the Travelers Championship in a tight turnaround following the U.S. Open.