Why Fowler is a man with a mission

US rookie Rickie Fowler is a young man with a misson heading into this week’s Byron Nelson Championship.

US PGA Tour rookie Rickie Fowler is aiming for a top-five finish in his HP Byron Nelson Championship debut this week because he knows it would qualify him for both the US Open and Open Championship this summer.
Californian Fowler, 21, has made a big impression on the PGA Tour in his first season – and not just because of the bright, all-orange outfits he likes to wear during tournaments.
Four top-10 finishes in his first 13 events, including a runner-up finish at the Phoenix Open and a tie for fifth at Torrey Pines in the Farmers’ Insurance Open, have shown there is as much substance to his game as there as style.
His performances have lifted him to 25th on the tour’s Money List and from 249th to 54th in the world rankings.
A top-five finish at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, this weekend would send Fowler into the world top 50 and give him exemptions to the next two majors of the season, at Pebble Beach in his home state for the US Open and at St Andrews for the Open.
“I’m going to mingle for the week, just try and get in the top 50 in the world,” Fowler said.
“That would take two qualifiers out of my near future, which would be for the Open and the British Open, so that’s kind of the main thing on the agenda is to play well and get that out of the way.”
Fowler said he had other goals to accomplish for the rest of his rookie campaign.
“Winning is, I would say, the goal every week,” he added. “I would say the long-term goals for the year, I want to keep playing well and play with a little more consistency.
“I want to work on staying on top of the Fed-Ex Cup points, I want to play in the (Tour) Championship at the end of the year, and ultimately a chance to play in the Ryder Cup.”
With most of the European Tour’s big guns returning home for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the international contingent at the Byron Nelson is somewhat reduced with world number 19 and current US PGA champion YE Yang leading the overseas challenge in Texas.
Florida-based Brian Davis and Greg Owen fly the flag for England with Scotland represented by Martin Laird.
And there will be a PGA Tour debut for 16-year-old Dallas schoolboy Jordan Spieth, the US Junior Amateur champion.
“Nobody that’s here enters a tournament if they don’t think they can win, at least in their own minds,” Spieth said.
“Obviously I know the percentage chances of me winning an event like this right now.
“But anything can happen.”