Rickie Fowler heads into this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational seeking a long-awaited return to form that would do wonders for his bid to extend a streak of 41 consecutive major appearances.
Fowler, who is 65th in the world rankings and without a top-10 finish since January 2020, can keep his major streak alive by winning a PGA Tour event ahead of the April 8-11 Masters or by getting back into the top 50.
That could prove a daunting task given that Fowler, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour who was once ranked fourth in the world, has missed the cut in 10 of his last 25 starts.
“Everyone that’s played really at all, especially at some sort of a high level, completely understands that golf is up-and-down,” Fowler said on Tuesday at Bay Hill.
“You take advantage of the times where you’re playing well and ride those out because you know that it’s not always going to be that way, there are times where it’s going to go down and you’re going to have to fight through it.
“Unfortunately, this one’s been a little longer than I would like it to have been, but, yeah, we’re grinding through it.”
Despite his struggles on the course, Fowler has remained one of the more recognizable faces in the sport. CBS analyst and six-time major winner Nick Faldo seems to think that might be part of the problem.
Faldo took a little dig on Twitter, quote tweeting a story about Fowler’s struggles by referencing the number of commercials he is in. In a recent interview with Golf Digest, Fowler estimated that he spends 25-30 days a year shooting commercials.
Fowler told Golf Digest in a separate interview this week that his failures have started to affect the relationship between himself and caddie Joe Skovron.
“It’s very frustrating,” Fowler said. “It’s made it at times tough between Joe and I on the course. We have a great relationship, we have known each other for a long time, but when I’m out there and I’m not hitting shots that I’m visualizing and seeing, it’s hard. It’s tough for all of us that are involved, from my caddie, to my wife—she’s having to deal with me at home.”
Fowler has competed at Bay Hill nine times and his best showing came in 2013 when he finished in a share of third place.
He said it was frustrating not being able to execute the shots he visualises but was hopeful his recent share of 20th at The Genesis Invitational — his best result of the season — is a sign that things are heading in the right direction.
“A lot of it I would say is more just on the mental side now, just getting back and playing as much as possible to just get the reps in,” added Fowler. “It’s a matter of time. We’ll just keep kicking the darn door and she’ll fall.”
— With Reuters