Fowler again in the spotlight at The Players

By Jason SobelMay 13, 2012, 12:24 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rickie Fowler had just finished playing 18 holes at last year’s Memorial Tournament in brutally hot, humid conditions. He trudged off the final green suffering from heat exhaustion, then promptly signed his scorecard, grabbed a cold bottle of water and pulled up a chair. He then signed autographs for every orange-clad, flat-billed fan in attendance – and yes, there were plenty of ‘em.

This was hardly an isolated incident. With a public image that had long exceeded his results table, Fowler has been the subject of adoring fans and additional attention ever since turning professional three years ago at the age of 20.

Moral of the story: The transition from up-and-comer with potential to PGA Tour champion may have been smoother for Fowler than any other young winner of recent vintage, considering he was already equipped to deal with the responsibilities that most players with greater degrees of success handle on a daily basis.

Those needing proof of that theory need only check the Players Championship leaderboard, as Fowler has followed his initial victory at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship by once again climbing into contention.

In breezy conditions at TPC-Sawgrass on Saturday, the 23-year-old posted a 6-under 66 that left him in third place entering the final round, just three shots behind leader Kevin Na.

“Had some fun out there today,” Fowler said afterward. “I mean, other than bogeying the last, I'd have to say it was a fairly perfect round.”

Perhaps the biggest question about his second consecutive title contention is whether it happened because of last week’s win or in spite of it.

To his credit, Fowler took certain precautions prior to The Players in order to ensure he would be fresh for this week’s tournament.

“I took Monday off kind of to recharge and slept in a bit,” he intimated. “I only played five holes Tuesday, played the back nine on Wednesday, and got some time in the gym and made sure that physically and mentally I was ready to go for the week. I had seen the course a handful of times, so we knew where to hit it and what we were going to try to do. It was more making sure I was going to be ready to play golf and mentally and physically ready to go on Thursday.”

Throughout the past year, Fowler has been quick to acknowledge that much about his look – from the brightly colored wardrobe to the sporadically filled mustache – is about proving to people that he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks and he enjoys separating himself from the masses.

It’s that “me against the world” mentality that he carried into the victory and one which he still holds in regard to this event, even with his lofty leaderboard status.

“Having won last week, there's not many people that have gone and won, and then won the next week,” he explained. “So I feel like I'm in kind of an underdog position. Maybe overlooked at the start of the week … maybe a little tired.”

Tired? If anything, Fowler appears to be gaining momentum as the week progresses. He opened with 72, followed with a second-round 69 and then posted a 66 on the proverbial Moving Day that included seven birdies.

“It's not that I'm swinging it any better or anything like that,” he said. “I'm definitely confident that I've played really well the last two weeks prior to this. Finally get a few putts to drop. It's more just things are clicking. Everything is kind of coming together.”

Fowler is now trying to become the first player to win PGA Tour events on back-to-back weeks since Tiger Woods in 2009.

That’s hardly an easy proposition – just ask a guy who has only accomplished the feat twice in a Hall of Fame career.

“It's just tough to win any time, but back-to-back weeks is difficult because usually you have different conditions,” Phil Mickelson explained. “It can be mentally, physically draining to stay focused for 72 holes at the highest level and can be sometimes difficult to get up the following week.”

Fowler will attempt to overcome that mental and physical drain on Sunday, playing in the penultimate pairing. Asked whether he’ll be able to slide under the radar, he smiled and claimed, “No, I'll be dressed pretty bright, so you'll be able to see me.”

The truth is, Fowler has never been under the radar. Which perfectly explains why he’s dealt with recent success so well thus far.

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”

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Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.

The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.

But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.

Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.

3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler

3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim

3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley

3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne

4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka

4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na

4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox

4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland

4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura

5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch

5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day

5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda

5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone

5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink

5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri

6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman

6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner

6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed

6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell

6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer

7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay

7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert

7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen

7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira

7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett

7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley

8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An

8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato

8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman

8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook

8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson

9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy

9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren

9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods

9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell

9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele