Rickie Fowler arrives in Merseyside for the Open Championship this weekend still saddled with the title of best player on the PGA Tour never to win a major.
Fowler, though does not seem too disheartened by it.
“It’s definitely a positive if you choose to look at it the right way,” he said, aware that lots of people back in the States don’t.
Back in 2014, Fowler became the first player in history to finish in the top five in all four majors in the same year without winning one.
So far this year he has had chances at the Masters and the US Open.
Just last month, Fowler was in with a chance at Erin Hills when he started the final day two shots back of the lead, before a disappointing final round saw him fade from contention – a familiar story.
“All you can do is learn from your mistakes and I feel I’m getting more comfortable each time I’m in position to win. At the Masters I pushed too hard but I learned from that at the US Open, and in no way did I play badly. Brooks Koepka wasn’t handed the title, he won it with an incredible round.”
Still, Fowler believes his best chance of breaking his major duck is at The Open, where his innovative and crafty play is best suited to the often challenging conditions.
Many still remember Fowler’s amazing third round of 68 in the midst of a foul storm at Royal St George’s in 2011, a round that saw him tipped for future Open success by BBC commentator Ken Brown.
Wind, it seems, is not a factor the likeable Californian worries about.
“I went to college at Oklahoma State where it’s always windy. That’s why I loved it straight away over here,” he says
Three years later at Hoylake, Fowler came close again, challenging winner Rory McIlroy as he finished runner-up.
Now, he’s back in the region at Royal Birkdale and he likes what he sees.
“It sets up good for someone who drives straight and putts well, and they’re my two favourite clubs,” he adds.
“I like to think I’ve got a chance of winning any of the majors and my record shows that, but The Open is the one that suits me best of all.”
He comes into the tournament in good form, His average score of 69.161 across 50 rounds this year is the lowest on the PGA Tour, lower even than world number one Dustin Johnson.
Given that and his comfort on links courses, it would come as no surprise come Sunday if Fowler is able to follow in the footsteps of Masters winner Sergio Garcia and finally rid himself of that most unwanted of titles.
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