Golf

Can Fowler claim the Claret?

Can Fowler claim the Claret?

Former OSU Cowboy Rickie Fowler has a pretty impressive golf resume.

Seven worldwide wins. He’s won the Players Championship. Scored victories on tough courses like TPC Sawgrass and Quail Hollow. He’s won on the PGA Tour and the European Tour. He’s been on Ryder Cup, President’s Cup and Walker Cup teams.

In other words, Fowler has done just about everything. There’s just that “major” matter that still needs to be resolved.

The popular, Puma clad Poke, currently number 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is still searching for that first major title. And you get the feeling it’s about time Rickie adds one to his list of accomplishments.

It might just happen at Royal Birkdale when the Open Championship tees off Thursday morning in Southport, England.

Rickie’s had a bunch of close calls in golf’s big four. He does have top 5 finishes in all of them, including a runner up finish to Rory McIlroy in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Rickie’s problem hasn’t been contending, it’s been closing the deal. You can’t be like Alec Baldwin’s character (Blake) in Glenngarry Glen Ross and “always be closing” in professional golf. It doesn’t work that way.

Still, it’s about time for Fowler to close one. And this looks like a great chance for him.
The Open appears to be up for grabs.

Big hitters like world number one Dustin Johnson will have the driver taken out of their hands at Birkdale, a shorter layout that puts more of a premium on keeping the ball in play.

Phil Mickelson said Tuesday he won’t even be carrying a driver this week.

That also effects other long ball hitters like Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka.

Perrenial contender, and former winner, McIlroy is struggling. Rory missed the cut in the US Open at Erin Hills, and also recently failed to make the weekend in the Irish and Scottish Opens. That’s not what you call trending in the right direction.

Fowler is playing well coming in. He finished tied 11th earlier this year at Augusta, and was 5th at Erin Hills. Plus, Rickie won earlier this season at the Honda Classic on a tough course.

Rickie’s record has started to catch up with his popularity. He’s always been a huge draw, a likeable, cool kid with an aggressive style and flashy clothes that has resonated with fans.

A Fowler breakthrough would be hugely popular in the golf world. After all, Sergio finally got his first major in April at Augusta, so it just seems like it’s time for Rickie to finally kick the door in for his first.

It’s gonna be tough to top the excitement of last year’s Sunday dual between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon, when Stenson shot 63 to win (Lefty shot 65), but a Fowler victory this weekend sure would be fun.

Maybe we’ll get to see a guy in Sunday orange hoist the Claret Jug Sunday. “Champion golfer of the year” would be a great thing for Fowler to finally add to that resume.

Golf

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