‘I don’t think you ever erase it’: Rickie Fowler talks Ryder Cup heartbreak

Rickie Fowler watches the Saturday afternoon four-ball session at the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Rickie Fowler had two losses in two matches at the 2023 Ryder Cup.

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Rickie Fowler is a Team USA veteran, with five Ryder Cup appearances over the last 13 years.

Unfortunately, despite his elder-statesman status, Fowler’s match-play record in the event leaves a lot to be desired. In 17 career Ryder Cup matches, he has only three outright wins and nine losses, with a total record of 3-9-5 — a stark contrast to his Presidents Cup record, which is 5-3-4 across three appearances.

The PGA Tour famously moves at breakneck speed in terms of its schedule, with tournaments picking back up in the immediate wake of major championships and exhibition events for which there have often been years of prep and anticipation. The Ryder Cup is no exception, with the Tour’s fall season beginning immediately afterward with three tournaments in a row: the Sanderson Farms Championship, Shriners Children’s Open and this week’s tournament, the Zozo Championship in Japan.

Fowler is one of a few Ryder Cup players on-site this week for the first time since playing in Rome, and questions about the matches were still top of mind: namely, how does one move forward from a crushing defeat like the one the U.S. team was dealt in Rome? (Europe triumphed by a score of 16.5-11.5, and Fowler was the lone member of the U.S. team to come away with 0 points, going 0-2-0.) Though it’s been three weeks, Fowler said the experience is still top of mind — and likely will be for a while.

“I don’t think you ever really erase it,” Fowler said. “Like I mentioned, they’re still amazing weeks, just not fun being on the wrong side of it. Win or lose, they’re still some of the best weeks of your career being on those teams with some of the best players in the world, especially from your country, just to be able to be in that situation. There’s a lot of goals and accomplishments that you have to achieve to be there.

“Yeah, we like to put the losing memories behind us, but the memories we have with teammates and captains and the overall week, it’s something it’s still fun to look back on,” he continued. “The golf part of it, try and learn from mistakes or not playing so well. I’d had a great year up until that point and there’s a lot of things that I can look back on to pick back up where we were and play some good golf for the few events I have this fall and going into next year.”

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In Fowler’s five Ryder Cup appearances, he’s only been on a winning squad once: the 2016 U.S. victory at Hazeltine.

“It’s motivation that all of us needed to play a bit better,” Fowler said of once again being on the losing side. “We have a few guys that did play well that week, but not enough. It seemed like all 12 of the European guys stepped up and played some darn good golf. Yeah, coming off of that, it was unfortunate we had — myself and a couple other guys that weren’t feeling very well, so I’m happy to be in a healthy spot and excited to play some better golf than I did in Rome.

“They’re always really fun weeks, special weeks to be a part of,” he continued. “They just happen to be a lot more fun when you’re on the winning side. Unfortunately, there’s been very few of those for the past 30 years, especially when you talk about overseas.”

The U.S. overseas deficit will extend to 34 years when the Ryder Cup heads back to European soil in 2027 at Ireland’s Adare Manor. But the next Ryder Cup should have a fiery home-turf advantage for the Americans when they tee it up at Bethpage Black in 2025.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.