UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – With its browned fairways and firm bounces, Chambers Bay is more of a links-style course than any prior host of the U.S. Open.
For Rickie Fowler, it’s a welcome sight.
Fowler got a quick introduction to links golf at the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down, and he returned to Northern Ireland last month for the Irish Open. This week he is looking to improve upon his T-2 finish at last year’s U.S. Open, where Fowler thrived on another browned-out venue.
“I really feel comfortable on this golf course. I love playing links golf,” Fowler said. “I’ve played well in the British Open overseas. And being that I have played well in the U.S. Open, I feel like putting the two together with the links style and the U.S. Open setup could turn out to be a great week.”
Fowler is looking to follow in the footsteps of Martin Kaymer, who won The Players Championship last year and then lapped the field at Pinehurst – including Fowler, his playing partner during the final round.
“Obviously Martin had a pretty awesome performance last year in the U.S. Open. He didn’t really give us a chance to go catch him,” Fowler said. “So with seeing that done, yeah, I’d love to go do the same as he did last year.”
Fowler joined rarified air with a quartet of top-5 finishes in the majors last year, and with his T-12 finish at the Masters he has now cracked the top 20 in six of his last seven major starts dating back to the 2013 U.S. Open. While his maiden major title remains elusive, Fowler believes his overtime victory at TPC Sawgrass supplies him with an added boost of confidence that wasn’t there a year ago.
“There’s a difference between a top-5 and getting the job done, being the last guy standing holding the trophy at the end,” Fowler said. “I definitely feel like the win at the Players was kind of the next step to holding the trophy at a major.”