‘It’s going to happen here soon’: Is this the week Rickie Fowler gets a win?
Is it his time?
Jim Nantz may have this weekend’s Rocket Mortgage Classic off, but his legendary call for Phil Mickelson’s first major championship nearly 20 years ago may also fit Rickie Fowler’s 6th PGA Tour win perfectly.
Officially, Sunday will mark 1,610 days since Rickie Fowler last tasted victory on the PGA Tour, but it feels so much longer. Especially so after the past three weeks.
Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Fowler has been on a tear with a T6 at Colonial, T9 at Memorial before he even held the 54-hole lead at Los Angeles Country Club two weeks ago.
You know by now he finished T5 at the U.S. Open after a flat Sunday 75 left him five back of Wyndham Clark, but then he flirted with 59 at the Travelers. He went into the final round last week in a tie for fourth, but a distant six back and finished T13, breaking his run of top-10s.
“I felt really good Sunday last week and just didn’t get anything going, didn’t get anything out of it,” Fowler said Saturday evening. “Sunday at the U.S. Open, timing got a little off, I wasn’t hitting my irons as kind of tight and on my numbers, as I had been all week, didn’t make much on top of that.”
Now he’s come to one of his sponsors’ events this week in Detroit and not only has he kept the form up, he’s got the 54-hole lead all to himself this time.
You’ve heard it probably close to a million times in the past month, but Fowler’s season has been a resurgent one, even before this run of play. He held the 54-hole lead earlier this season at the Zozo Championship in Japan in October before settling for runner-up — his highest finish since that victory at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Have all the close calls after such a prolonged run of subpar play taken their toll on the now-34-year-old Fowler? Not a chance.
“Like I mentioned at the U.S. Open, being through these last few years, I’m not scared to fail,” Fowler said. “I’ve dealt with plenty of that and dealt with plenty of bad golf. So just keep trusting swing thoughts and go stick to our game plan and go play some golf.”
Fowler put together his best round of the week so far Saturday, making birdie on six of his final 8 holes to shoot 64 and get to 20 under par.
His iron game was sharp, missing just one green because he had to take an unplayable left of the 10th fairway. His putter was rolling just like it has for much of the year, taking just 28 putts despite hitting so many greens.
If there was any weak spot, it was his driving, where he lost strokes to the field. That was also a part of his game where he saw he had room for improvement after he analyzed his final round at the U.S. Open, he said.
“The big thing is getting the ball in play. Got to be playing from the fairway,” Fowler said. “I know what I need to do, I know how I need to swing irons and all that. We’ve been in — like you said — been in this position ample times throughout the year and then being either final group or close to the final group last week or the last two weeks.”
He’s got his third 54-hole lead this season, but he knows that means nothing, after all, he’s only 2-for-10 at converting 54-hole leads in his career. There’s no added pressure to get the job done Sunday.
“Whether it happens tomorrow or not, it’s going to happen here soon,” Fowler said. “I’m not pressing that, hey, I need to go get it done tomorrow or it means absolutely nothing. I’ve been playing a lot of really good golf and been putting myself in good positions. This definitely won’t be the last, but yeah, it will be fun tomorrow.”
And if it truly is Fowler’s time Sunday, it will certainly be a long time coming.