The day will come when you watch a man strut up to the 18th green at a Major Championship dressed in all orange, and with a smirk pinned on his face – no more mustache hopefully. Rickie Fowler, part of golf’s young and elite cast will be a major champion before he reaches his 30th birthday.
At 28-years-young he has hung around Major championships the last couple years, in fact the only Major Fowler didn’t finish in the top-15 in 2017 was The Open (T-22 finish). He had a T-5 finish in both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open – if you remember Fowler opened that Major with a seven-under 65. He also had a T-11 at the Masters in April.
Even when Fowler experiences another short coming in a Major Championship, he still remains positive about the state of his game.
“I feel like I’m playing at the highest level,” Fowler said at the U.S. Open. “If you look at the negatives too much, I mean, you’re going to be stuck doing that the whole time.
“You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, because that doesn’t happen a whole lot. I think Tiger (Woods) had the best winning percentage of all time at 30%, and you’re lucky to even sniff close to 10.”
The frustration continued to build this year as Fowler was in contention on the final day of the PGA Championship. He would have needed to shoot the round of his life to stop the buzzsaw in Justin Thomas. And he did put together an impressive back nine when he carded four birdies that gave him a top-five finish.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) August 13, 2017
But Top-five isn’t good enough anymore.
“I told him I was going to go out and try to show him something. At least I was able to do that on the back nine,” Fowler said after the PGA Championship. “To see Jimmy on 18 last year, and to do the same thing with JT, I know that my time is coming. It’s not long.”
This year’s PGA Champion Justin Thomas talked about how jealousy of seeing Jordan Spieth win The Open fueled his desire to win a Major himself.
“Frustration probably isn’t the right word; jealousy definitely is,” Thomas said jokingly. “I mean, there’s no reason to hide it. I would say anybody is jealous that I won [Sunday]. I was jealous that Sergio [Garcia] won [the Masters]; that Brooks [Koepka] won [the U.S. Open]; that Jordan won. I wanted to be doing that, and I wasn’t.”
And Thomas is only 24. Can you imagine the level of frustration that has built up in Rickie’s head? He’s been watching friends win Majors left and right.
At least he is supportive of his friends and competitors, which is one of Fowler’s best attributes as both a person and an athlete.
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) August 14, 2017
Fowler is similar to Phil Mickelson, who played in 43 Major Championships before reaching his first which was the 2004 Masters. Mickelson was facing the same scrutiny as Fowler, on whether or not he could finish on Sunday when it mattered most.
The nice twist to that story is after Mickelson won the ’04 Masters, he went on to win two of the next eight Majors. Now Phil has five to his credit and is looking for a U.S. Open title to complete the career Grand Slam.
Fowler’s 43rd Major start would be the 2021 Masters when he is 32 years old, but like I said before he will be a Major Champion before he turns 30.