Skip Bayless on Rickie Fowler: “Not a closer, brand bigger than guts”

Trevor Woods

In the unfair world in which we live, perception is king… and the perception of athletes is if they don’t win the championship they are losers, they choked, they’re overrated, they’re not that good.

Throughout time many athletes and golfers have faced these unwarranted critiques, and no one is hearing them more than Rickie Fowler at the moment.

Golf analysts and talking heads have deemed Fowler’s showing at the U.S. open as a choke-job and that he isn’t a clutch golfer. One of the most pointed set of comments was tweeted out by Fox Sports pundit Skip Bayless, whom always has something negative to say about a top-tier pro.

Fowler has never won a major, but he has sure came close more than a handful of times. With many top five and top ten finishes in majors, that is nothing to belittle. Further, Fowler has ten second place finishes since he’s been a pro. Impressive stuff. But that isn’t good enough for people like Mr. Bayless, they have to win EVERYTHING. Too bad not everyone is Tiger Woods. And even Tiger lost a lot more than he ever won.

“You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, just because that doesn’t happen a whole lot,” Fowler said after the Open. “I think Tiger had the best winning percentage of all time at 30 percent, and you’re lucky to even sniff close to 10.”

Fowler is exactly right, measuring success isn’t as simple as wins and losses, there are many intricacies to success. For example, the Buffalo Bills played in the Super Bowl four years in a row, they lost each time. Were they choke artists? No. They simply came up short on the biggest stage of their sport. I correlate that with the amount of times Fowler has came up short in majors.

Bayless claims Fowler’s brand is bigger than his guts and uses his coach’s comments to make his case. He’s wrong on both accounts here. The coach said that as a motivation tool, as no coach wants his student to believe they are all high and mighty. But the comment was made to humble Fowler and to motivate him, not to be used against him like Bayless is doing. Secondly, how does one measure someones guts and resolve. In my view it takes guts to get out on the course, it takes guts to play from behind, it takes guts to be in a position to win on the final day of the U.S. Open.

Names such as Vijay Singh, Angel Cabrera, Mark O’Meara, Nick Price, and Padraig Harrington didn’t win their first major ’til they were in their mid to late 30’s, or at 41 in O’Meara’s case. With Bayless’ way of thinking all of these men would be deemed as not having enough guts, that they aren’t good enough as pros.

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At only 28 years of age, Fowler has plenty of good years and chances ahead of him. His career could ultimately have a handful of major wins before all is said and done. Fowler may not even be at his peak, there’s a chance he only gets better as time marches forward. You can’t win ’em all. Golfers realize this, and Skip Bayless needs to as well.

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