Robin Barwick talks about Rickie Fowler's first round of the 2014 Open, as well as his recent performances prior to the Championship.
Not many know that Tiger Woods is not the only golfer to have played 72 holes of Open Championship golf without going into a single bunker. Rickie Fowler did it too, on his Open debut no less in 2010, although the outcome was slightly different, at first anyway.
“The main thing with links is to stay out of the bunkers,” Fowler told Golf Monthly last night. “I did a very good job of that in my first Open at St Andrews in 2010. I did not hit my ball in a bunker at all, although I still shot 79 in the first round, and that is a high score when you have avoided the bunkers. I shot 79 the hard way. But after that I played well, made the cut by one, had a good weekend and finished 14th, so that was a good start for me in the Open Championship.”
There must have been some gorse prickles in Fowler’s brightly coloured trousers having shot that 79. But after that, Fowler responded by shooting 67, 71, 67 to finish in a tie for 14th. At Royal St. George’s in 2011 Fowler finished in a tie for fifth, and the Californian golfer with a passion for dirt bikes has proven he has the guile and patience for the type of golfing test that is far removed from the lush parkland golf he grew up with on America’s west coast.
Yesterday at Royal Liverpool, Fowler opened with an impressive 69, three under par, as he looks to improve on that 5th-place finish of three years ago.
“What is most fun on links is that you need to use your imagination,” adds Fowler. “You need to visualise your shots more than you do on a parkland course. You need to visualise the flight of the ball, how it is going to land and how it is going to react on the ground. Sometimes it does not work out on a links course because there are bumps that can send the ball in different directions. When the wind picks up on a links you really need to have control of the golf ball, you need to create a shot and then hit it properly. It is fun and it is a challenge, and you often have so many options for how to play a shot. Sometimes you might want to run the ball up to the green, or work the ball in from different sides.”
Fowler has performed exceptionally well in the 2014 majors so far: tied for fifth at the Masters and then tied for second in the US Open, and he tees up at 1:38 this afternoon in the second round.
“Everything at the Open is dictated by the weather,” adds Fowler. “I will wait and see how the weather looks, and set a game plan from there, but I will try to stay out of the bunkers and stay on the fairways. That is first order of business.”
Robin Barwick travelled to the Open Championship courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is global sponsor of the Masters, patron of the Open Championship and official car of the PGA Championship