Rickie Fowler is not attention-grabbing. On the U.S. Open, he is far more than that.


Rickie Fowler enters Sunday on the U.S. Open with the possibility at his first profession main.

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LOS ANGELES — Permit me to be the primary to interrupt the dangerous information: Rickie Fowler has by no means stated an attention-grabbing phrase.

Don’t imagine me? Let’s strive an train: when was the final time you heard Rickie say one thing exterior of a tv industrial?

Nonetheless pondering?

In fact you’re nonetheless pondering. That is Rickie’s present: he has managed to outlive the higher a part of knowledgeable profession in golf with out saying something of substance — and he’s achieved in order arguably the game’s most omnipresent determine.

His interviews drag like the tip of a nasty film. His press conferences sound like filibusters. His most well-liked cliches are so drained they ought to move to mattress. His commercials are…commercials. Most occasions, it feels as if Fowler’s phrases are a swimsuit of armor defending him from the factor he’s actually pondering.

From Saturday night’s U.S. Open presser, shortly after Rickie entered a tie for the 54-hole lead:

“Actually doesn’t matter, having the lead, being one again, two again. You’re going to need to play good golf tomorrow,” he stated, apparently unaware that he had simply recycled a yr’s value of dangerous golf axioms.

From the identical presser, on his 18th gap bogey:

“Bummer to have that one slip away, however tomorrow is a complete new day, and like I stated, that’s sort of when the event actually begins.”

From the identical presser, on the story of the week, his bid to win his first main championship at LACC.

“I imply, clearly it could be large,” he stated. “It might be nice.”

At these ranges of verbal boredom, it’s spectacular Fowler has ascended to changing into one of many sport’s most transcendent stars. However then once more, most of us don’t spend a lot time watching Fowler communicate. And if you happen to’ve watched him this week at Los Angeles Nation Membership, you realize phrases couldn’t probably do that facet of Rickie Fowler justice.

On Saturday, Fowler turned the quickest participant in U.S. Open historical past to succeed in 20 birdies or higher, besting Brendan Steele’s 2017 mark by some eight holes. He continued a stretch of out-of-nowhere dominance that can give him at the very least a share of the primary, second, third and closing spherical leads at this yr’s U.S. Open. He made each heroic birdies (his unattainable 69-foot make on the seventh) and soul-crushing bogeys (his three-foot horseshoe miss on the 18th). He treaded water throughout a second-straight topsy-turvy spherical with the lead at a golf course designed, partly, to shatter goals. He discovered himself getting ready to each the factor he needs most (a serious victory) and the factor he’s most tortured by (years value of near-misses).

rickie fowler at us open

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It’s straightforward to overlook how inconceivable this run is for Fowler. The final three years haven’t been variety to Rickie, who fell from the height of the game to the fringes of PGA Tour standing, ranked exterior the highest 150 on the planet. Slowly, his title turned extra synonymous together with his company companions than it did together with his chosen occupation. His commercials turned a punchline. His recreation drifted additional.

Only a yr in the past, Fowler discovered himself on the skin trying in on U.S. Open qualifying. However on Sunday, he’ll enter the odds-on favourite to emerge from a pool of greater than 10,000 golfers to win this occasion.

Even probably the most hardened optimist would discover that tough to imagine, even together with his recreation pointing in the precise path these previous few months.

“I might say a giant a part of my composure is simply what I handled the previous couple of years,” he stated. “I had by no means essentially handled that massive of a low for that lengthy of a time.”

It won’t be straightforward for Rickie, who has not received knowledgeable occasion since 2019, and whose main championship historical past is plagued by heartbreak. Up to now, he has completed second in all however one main, the PGA, the place in 2014 he completed third.

He’ll want a fourth consecutive extraordinary efficiency on Sunday (and maybe a little bit of luck) to exorcise these demons. Fortunately, this hasn’t been an odd week.

“I discussed it yesterday and I nonetheless stand by it,” Fowler stated. “That is one of the best I’ve felt, not to mention in a traditional event however particularly a serious, and I might say actually ever in my profession.”

It’s exhausting to say what a victory would possibly appear like for Fowler, who has lengthy saved his feelings near his chest and his eyes hidden behind the darkish blue shades. Saturday evening’s press convention didn’t present many clues.

Nevertheless it did present one. That got here simply earlier than he stepped down from the lectern and shuffled off into the darkness, left to sleep on a 54-hole lead for the primary time in a really lengthy whereas.

“Now we have an opportunity tomorrow,” he stated. “I’m not scared to fail. I’ve handled that.”

So yeah, we’ll simply go depart all of it on the market,” he stated. “I’m not scared to be wherever we’re at.”

U.S. Open Sunday could also be many issues for Rickie Fowler, nevertheless it positive received’t be boring.

It doesn’t matter what he says.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a information and options editor at GOLF, writing tales for the web site and journal. He manages the Sizzling Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and makes use of his on-camera expertise throughout the model’s platforms. Previous to becoming a member of GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse College, throughout which era he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Lengthy Island, the place he’s from. He will be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.


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