Fowler addresses Sunday stumbles

World No. 8 Rickie Fowler playing his shot from a bunker on the fifth hole during the final round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Fowler once again fell short at a Major.
World No. 8 Rickie Fowler playing his shot from a bunker on the fifth hole during the final round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Fowler once again fell short at a Major.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ERIN • Rickie Fowler has been here before, and he doesn't need to be reminded of it.

"I know I haven't won a Major championship," Fowler said on Sunday, after he was again in contention on the last day of a golf Major and again finished somewhere other than first place.

But Fowler, who started the final round of the US Open two strokes off the lead, would not let the sting of another near miss, his second at this event, sink in.

"If you look at the negatives too much, I mean, you're going to be stuck doing that the whole time," he said, before pointing out how high Tiger Woods had set the bar.

"You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, just because that doesn't happen a whole lot. I think Tiger had the best winning percentage of all time at 30 per cent, and you're lucky to even sniff close to 10."

With a final-round 72 that included three bogeys, Fowler finished joint fifth, six strokes behind the winner, Brooks Koepka. He now has five top-five finishes at Majors in the last four years.

At this year's Masters, he began the final round one stroke off the lead, then shot a 76 and tumbled down the leaderboard into a tie for 11th. He has been in the hunt heading into the final round of a Major seven times without a victory, beginning in 2011.


    4TH RD (selected; USA unless stated, a-amateur)

    272 Brooks Koepka 67 70 68 67

    276 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 74 65 71 66, Brian Harman 67 70 67 72

    277 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 67 70 68 67

    278 Xander Schauffele 66 73 70 69, Bill Haas 72 68 69 69, Rickie Fowler 65 73 68 72

    279 Charley Hoffman 70 70 68 71

    280 Justin Thomas 73 69 63 75

    282 Kim Si Woo 69 70 68 75

    284 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 70 71 71 72 286 Paul Casey (Eng) 66 71 75 74

    287 a-Scottie Scheffler 69 74 71 73

    289 Jordan Spieth 73 71 76 69, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 72 69 75 73

    295 Ernie Els (Rsa) 70 72 79 74, Lee Westwood (Eng) 69 75 75 76

    310 Li Haotong (Chn) 74 70 82 84

Fowler is highly popular among his peers, gracious to everyone he interacts with. He is only 28, which means he has many years left, and ranks ninth in the world. Certainly, there is no shame in coming up short, while still in your 20s, at the difficult pursuit of winning a Major golf championship.

Yet, with every Major Fowler enters, the clock is ticking - not just because he has been one of golf's top talents this decade - but also because he often seems poised to win his first Major championship until the last day.

On Sunday, he frequently did not resemble the player who had been 10-under par through the first three rounds.

He hit 11-of-14 fairways and reached only 11 greens in regulation. There were also the moments when Fowler needed a big shot and usually came up short.

Another golfer who is struggling to come to terms with a near miss at a first Major is Brian Harman.

After beginning the final round with a one-shot lead, the world No. 50 looked to be edging closer to a fairy tale win as he moved to the turn without dropping a shot.

However, his hopes of victory evaporated with back-to-back bogeys that left him with too much ground to make up.

"It bites a little bit right now," Harman said. "I had a couple get away from me yesterday."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Fowler addresses Sunday stumbles'. Print Edition | Subscribe