Rickie Fowler, winner of the 2015 Player’s Championship, is quickly becoming golf’s most famous underrated player.
CBS Sports is reporting that Fowler, who won his first tournament back in 2012 at the Wells Fargo Championship, now adds this year’s Players’ Championship, his second tournament win. His tournament successes were few and far between, so in 2013, Fowler switched coaches and hired Butch Harmon, who most notably had worked as golfing coach for Tiger Woods until 2004. With Harmon’s coaching, Fowler made major strides, finishing in the top five of every major tournament in 2014. But Fowler had that stigma of not being able to close the deal on him. Until this week.
Fowler winning this year’s Player’s Championship after a playoff shows his game has made major strides. Fowler had a two-stroke lead after he finished his fourth round, then waited for the other playoff participants, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner. During the three-hole playoff, Fowler held off both players to take the victory. Fowler showed a resiliency he hadn’t had previously.
Fowler does show the capability to be a major star on the golf circuit. He is always donating time to promote golf, and is one of the more popular players in the game. With the new coaching, perhaps he can bring his level of play to that level of popularity.
According to the Huffington Post, Fowler does not concern himself with labels, like “overrated,” “underrated,” or the like. Case in point, Fowler, considered an “overrated” golfer in some circles, just beat all other golfers in a major tournament on one of the toughest golf courses in the tournament. He shot six-under-par on the final six holes to give himself a chance to win the tournament.
Not too shabby for a golfer who shared the dubious title of “Most Over-rated golfer” with Ian Poulter, as voted by their fellow professional golfers on the tour.
When Fowler saw the poll, he laughed and said, “I thought it was funny. It’s fine by me. I’m going to try and play as well as I can this week and take care of my own business.”
It remains to be seen what this victory will do for, and to, Fowler. It could propel him to Tiger/McElroy/Spieth status, It could cement his overrated/underrated status. Or it could do nothing. What has changed, however, is Fowler’s fire. While others were using three woods on the 18th to reach the greens, Fowler used his driver to hit a drive over 330 yards to get him close to the hole, and in position for the victory.
Sounds like Fowler had it all figured out.
[Image courtesy of Tracy Wilcox/Golf Week]