AUGUSTA, Ga. — Rickie Fowler is aware of methods to make his option to the entrance of a congratulatory line. He has had loads of follow slapping, high-fiving and hugging his buddies as they stroll off with the championship and he’s left to marvel when he’ll get his.
It was Justin Thomas final summer time on the PGA Championship, Jordan Spieth at The Open earlier than that, Brooks Koepka on the U.S. Open even earlier than that. He has seen his share of victory speeches, and it is acquired to be getting a bit outdated.
And so, there he was once more Sunday at Augusta Nationwide, a final-hole birdie giving him a 67 and a weekend combo of 12-under par that might be arduous to surpass however wasn’t sufficient to win the Masters Match.
He stood outdoors the scoring room after watching Patrick Reed knock in his profitable par putt and waited as the most recent main champion made his approach from the 18th inexperienced by means of a procession of cheering spectators, there to supply his compliments as soon as once more.
“It’s going to hurt, but I try and look at things more as glass-half-full,” Fowler stated after ending a shot behind Reed. “Obviously, I want to be the one standing on top after the four rounds, but this is, if anything, it’s a step forward and makes me feel better about going forward into our next major, the U.S. Open. It’s going to be fun. I feel like this is a year to knock off our first.”
Give the 29-year-old Fowler credit score for the constructive outlook. This was his eighth top-five end in a significant championship and third runner-up. That is as many top-fives as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth since 2011 and greater than anybody else. However, in fact, they’ve since celebrated main titles whereas he nonetheless waits.
It was arduous to ask for rather more from him Sunday. A sluggish begin of 70-72 left him seven strokes out of the lead and with numerous floor to cowl. However he went 65-67 on the weekend. What extra do you must do?
“Well, I’ve got to put myself where I’m not five back, and then shoot 67,” Fowler stated. “I figured another 65 would have been probably good enough, and I didn’t have the front nine that I quite needed.”
True, one other 65 would have gained by one. However back-to-back 65s in a significant? At Augusta Nationwide?
Fowler performed the entrance 9 in simply 1 below earlier than he performed the final seven holes in four below. Maybe the bogeys on the ninth gap on each Thursday and Friday will hang-out him, or the lack to make higher than par on three of the 4 days on the par-5 second will probably be of trouble.
In that case, Fowler was not letting on.
“I did a great job of keeping myself in it but just put myself a little too far back to actually getting out to evening things up with Patrick or even getting in front,” he stated.
Fowler has lengthy been accused of being extra about type than substance. He has been thought of an elite participant since turning professional out of Oklahoma State in 2009 however has simply 4 PGA Tour victories and none in additional than a 12 months (he additionally has two on the European Tour). A staple of U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup groups, Fowler is ranked eighth on the earth. 4 years in the past, he was top-five in all 4 main championships, seemingly placing him getting ready to his first main. It has but to occur.
“It feels a lot different,” Fowler stated. “I’m able to go win a significant, however this was form of the primary main week that I understood that and identified that and felt that. I might say, beforehand, [I was] nonetheless feeling the nerves and coping with robust rounds and issues not going your approach.
“However I believe the large spherical for me was yesterday. I did not really feel my greatest. I felt like I needed to simply actually keep on with my recreation plan and form of struggle by means of a couple of occasions the place I’ll not have felt snug and simply making an attempt to intestine it out. … So, I am actually wanting ahead to this 12 months and the three majors which can be left. Shinnecock [site of the 2018 U.S. Open] is considered one of my favourite golf programs within the U.S. Clearly, this place, and I have not been to the opposite two, however needs to be an excellent main season.”
And Fowler would love nothing greater than to have his buddies ready round to congratulate him.