It took two years, but Rickie Fowler is eager to be back at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Fowler edged Matt Kuchar with a 72nd hole birdie at Gullane to win the title back in 2015, but he skipped his title defense last year because of the hectic summer schedule surrounding the Olympics. He's back in the U.K. this week, though, as he gets set for a fortnight of links golf beginning with Dundonald.
"I was a little bummed that we weren't able to make it back last year with some schedule conflicts, but after getting the win here in 2015 at Gullane, I always love playing over here in Scotland," Fowler told reporters. "Links golf is probably my favorite. Anytime I get a chance to play it, we do."
Fowler returns from two weeks off hoping to continue a hot stretch that featured top-5 finishes in three of his last four starts. That stretch includes a T-5 finish at the U.S. Open, where he was near the lead through 54 holes before being passed by Brooks Koepka. Fowler also had a similar Sunday swoon at the Masters, where he tied for 11th, and hopes to reverse that trend next week at Royal Birkdale.
"I tried to push a little too much and tried to make things happen too much at Augusta, and that definitely helped me at Erin Hills," Fowler said. "I feel like I did everything right at the U.S. Open. Like I said, putts didn't go in, and you can't force that. I hit a lot of good putts, and I saw the ball just kind of skirt by, high side, low side
Fowler has contended in The Open before, notably a runner-up finish at Royal Liverpool in 2014 and a T-5 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011. He only managed a T-46 finish last year at Royal Troon, and hopes that his strong recent form combined with a chance to play his way into another major will help his cause next week.
"I think you've seen more guys come over in the past five years or so, just I think with seeing how much success guys have had from playing the week before, the Scottish Open and going into The Open," Fowler said. "For me, it's been something I've liked. I've seen success from it. But like I said, it doesn't work for everyone and some guys like to get the work in away from a tournament to prepare."