The signs are looking good for Rickie Fowler finally returning to the top of his game, and a successful Rickie Fowler would be a huge boost for the PGA Tour as one of the most popular players on the circuit.
Fowler is back at the Players Championship, the scene of his greatest victory in 2015 when he produced one of the best finishes we’ve seen at TPC Sawgrass to eventually claim the title in a playoff.
The 34-year-old was five shots back with six holes to play but totally destroyed that fearsome finish at Sawgrass, going eagle-birdie-birdie to force a play-off, before beating Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia to lift the Players Championship trophy.
Reaching as high as fourth in the world, the last of Fowler’s five PGA Tour wins came at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and he’s endured some lean times in recent years, but he feels he’s close to getting that magic back.
“Oh, very close,” Fowler said recently. “How close I knew was being back to playing some better golf, it’s all a very fine line. I’ve got to drive it better than I have been, but it’s nice to see a lot of things improving and getting better. It’s kind of working from the green back.”
From finishing in the top five of every Major in 2014, Fowler failed to even qualify for three of them last year, but after three top 10s in his last nine and top 20 finishes in the Farmers Insurance Open, Phoenix Open and Genesis Invitational, he’s starting to appear regularly on leaderboards at big events.
And a good Rickie Fowler is great news for the PGA Tour, as Gary Woodland explains: “Rickie moves the needle.
“Obviously, he hasn’t had his best stuff the last couple years, but Rickie still gets crowds because he just has good energy around him. He’s always a positive guy and he makes time for the fans, man. He does things the right way.
“People love him. They’re drawn to him. The way he’s playing lately, getting back to those Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups and contending in major championships, I don’t think it’s too far away.”
Good friend Justin Thomas agrees that it would be great for Fowler, for the PGA Tour, and for golf if one of the most popular players on the circuit could get back to challenging, and even winning, in big tournaments again.
“It’s clearly trending that way. He’s playing some really good golf, really solid consistent golf,” said Thomas ahead of the Players Championship.
“I can just tell from playing practice rounds with him or…
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