After another year of near-misses in the majors, Rickie Fowler has a maiden victory firmly in his sights for 2018.
Rickie Fowler Targetting Major In 2018
Rickie Fowler’s game has come a long way since he received the dubious accolade of being voted the ‘Most Overrated Player on Tour’ by his fellow professionals in 2015.
Fired up by the slight, Fowler responded by romping to victory in the prestigious Players Championship and has continued his fine form going into 2018, recently dominating a star-studded field in the Hero World Challenge.
Even more encouragingly, the 2016-17 season was Fowler’s most consistent on the PGA Tour to date.
Of his 21 official starts, he only failed to make the weekend three times, registered ten top-10 finishes and also won the Honda Classic by an imperious four strokes.
But despite another excellent season, Fowler’s CV is still missing a major championship.
No one is more aware of the absence than Rickie himself who addressed the conspicuous gap in an interview before the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Wednesday.
“The main [goal of 2018] is to get a major,” Fowler said, adding that though he felt that he’d done a good job of “putting [himself] in contention multiple times” in the majors over the last few years.
“There needs to be some better weekends if [he’s to be] top come Sunday afternoon,” he added.
Few players have been more consistent in golf’s top events over the last few years than the world number seven, who finished 5th in last year’s US Open and USPGA Championship, meaning he has now finished inside the top-5 of both championships twice.
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Most of Fowler’s other high finishes came in 2014, when Rickie became only the 3rd player in history (after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus) to finish in the top-5 or better in all four of the year’s majors.
Despite scar tissue from all those near misses, the 29-year-old remains positive about his chances in 2018, though he says that he needs to take a leaf out of his pal Justin Thomas’s book if he’s going to do so.
Speaking about the parts of Thomas’s game that he most admires, Rickie cited the USPGA champion’s “short and mid-iron game”, adding that “if you were to say proximity to the hole, he’s typically a very good ball striker in that area, whether that’s say 100 to 200 yards.”
100 to 200 yard approach play is also the area in which he will be focusing on improving himself:
“One of the areas I feel like we have seen that can use some of the most improvement could be around 100 to 150 yards, wedges to pitching wedge, 9-iron, an area that I’m not necessarily bad at but statistically I can be better,” he said.
Fowler was a disappointing 56th in approaches from 125-150 yards in 2017, averaging 22′ 4″ from the hole.
But if Rickie can tighten up this statistic in the new year, that 2018 major could well be within his reach.
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