Fowler behind eight ball trying to make Players history


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rickie Fowler’s challenge trying to defend his title at The Players Championship is doubly difficult now.

He teed it up in the first round knowing nobody has ever won this event in back-to-back years since it began in 1974.

He’ll tee it up Friday for the second round nine shots off the lead after opening with an even-par 72.

Nobody has ever won The Players coming from more than seven shots back after the first round.

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“I guess history’s bound to change at some point,” Fowler said confidently. “We can change that.”

Fowler had trouble putting “crusty” greens in the afternoon, and he had trouble at the 18th hole. He made double bogey at the last. After pushing his drive right at the 18th, he pulled his approach in the water.

“The golf course is going to get really tough this weekend,” Fowler said, who needed 31 putts in his round.

“The tops of the greens are dried out and crusty and underneath is still soft, so you get footprints and spike marks. So it's not easy. You can hit a lot of good putts and it's tough to get the ball to go in the hole.”