Rickie Fowler figures four top-five major finishes in 2014 plus a victory at the 2015 Players Championship signal he’s ready for the next step in golf – winning a major title.
The 27-year-old American, considered among the best players who have not won a major, takes a huge confidence boost from his success in the past two seasons into Thursday’s opening round of the 80th Masters.
“Last year was definitely a step in the right direction for me, after good finishes in 2014 in the majors,” Fowler said. “I feel like the perfect storm, combine 2014 and 2015 together, equals winning a major, that’s the way I look at it.”
Fowler produced a landmark 2014 campaign, sharing fifth at the Masters, second at the US Open and the Open Championship and third at the PGA Championship.
Only three other players have achieved top-five finishes in all four majors in the same year – Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and reigning US Open and Masters champion Jordan Spieth last year. But among that fabulous foursome, Fowler was the only one who failed to win a major title in the run.
So he responded last year with a comeback win at the Players, took the European Tour’s Scottish Open in July and added the PGA Tour’s Deutsche Bank Championship last September and a European Tour title earlier this year at Abu Dhabi, one of five top-10 showings he has produced this year.
Fowler said winning titles has brought him more confidence than his major near-misses.
“Winning for sure,” Fowler, who tees off today at 17:26 (UAE time) with Zach Johnson and China’s Jin Cheng, said.
“Obviously contending in majors and being up there in 2014 helped me have the confidence that I did when I was in contention and had the chances last year.
“Without having those final days in the majors, I wouldn’t have had the success I did last year, so I feel like it’s kind of been all a little bit of a process, but definitely more confidence has come from winning.”
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