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Tag:rickie fowler
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:29 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 12:14 pm
 

MMSC: Rory, Tiger, and the art of closing

Rory McIlroy reacts after his final putt drops at the Honda Classic. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Golf is probably the hardest sport in the world to play, and play well, so it makes total sense that everyone is a critic, and that’s what we’re going to do here at Monday Morning Swing Coach. Cover just the PGA Tour? Nope. We're going to try to expand this Monday feature to anything and everything that happened the past weekend. 

Rory and Tiger most impressive at closing

A lot of things will be made about what happened on Sunday at the Honda Classic. Tiger Woods’ charge up the leaderboard. Rory McIlroy winning and becoming No. 1 in the world. 

But the thing that impressed me the most? How both were able to finish their rounds. 

So many times pro golfers will play great until the end, see what they are doing, and lose focus. You saw that with Brian Harman on Friday, when a holed bunker shot would have landed him in the 59 club, but instead of making the shot, he hit it three feet and then missed the putt for a 60. Sure, 61 is great, but that focus was lost for a second and a shot was dropped that would have allowed him his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. 

Tiger has been struggling mightily in recent events he was in contention in with actually closing the round. The tournament that comes to mind first was the Masters a year ago, when Tiger made a run early in his round only to struggle on the holes he usually dominates. 

Not this Sunday. Tiger put together a fantastic round in swirling winds, and finished it with a birdie-eagle finish. 

McIlroy was no different. His scrambling and bunker play on Sunday reminded me of Retief Goosen back in 2001 at Southern Hills, but Rory kept missing his golf shots in the right spots, and kept hitting unbelievable chip shots in short range of the cup to give him chances at par, which he converted. 

The comparisons of Tiger and Rory are plentiful after Sunday, but the thing that Woods used to do that separated himself from the pack was play well with a lead, and Rory did just that on Sunday, closing his round out with solid pars when he knew that was all he needed. A less steady McIlroy might have let the Tiger charge ruin him. The new Rory didn’t, and his ability to make the important putts down the stretch allowed him to breeze up the 18th hole with a two-shot lead and an easy run at par and the win. 

A confidence boost week

There are so many names that will be looking back at the Honda Classic with positive thoughts. 

The easy ones are Rory and Tiger, both using this week as a springboard for the rest of the season, but look down the leaderboard and see all the big names that played well at the Champions Course. 

Tom Gillis almost quit golf at one point, but played steady all week, even in the final round, and made a clutch birdie on the last hole to tie for second with Tiger and earn some serious dough he can put towards his 2013 card. 

Lee Westwood was paired with Woods early in the week, and while Tiger always outshines the rest of the field, we shouldn’t forget that Lee fired a final round 63 before Tiger finished to jump 23 spots for a fourth place finish alone. 

And then comes Rickie Fowler. I had a discussion early in the week about the state of Fowler’s game and we decided the kid was regressing and maybe needed a swing change to get to more consistent. 

Maybe I was completely wrong. Rickie shot 66 on Sunday for his first top-10 finish of the season and showed he isn’t completely lost out there. 

The Nationwide Tour’s U.S. Open?

This past weekend, the Nationwide Tour headed to Panama City for an event at the Panama Golf Club, and I’m just going to toss this out there; you might want to avoid that golf course if you want to keep your pride in tact. 

The winning score was 4-under, courtesy of Edward Loar, but he shot a final round 74 to win the event and only six players all week finished in red figures. 

Check out the new Eye on Golf Facebook page and follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:19 pm
 

Winners and losers from a great match play week

Hunter Mahan leads our list of winners from the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The Accenture Match Play is our first really big tournament of the season, and with so many talented people involved, it brings us our first winners/losers of 2012. So who killed, and who tanked? Read on and see ...

Winners

Hunter Mahan -- Obviously. Mahan played some incredibly inspired golf, beating some big names in the game and stepping up to Rory McIlory, who was playing for something much bigger than just the Marana trophy. Also, with his recent Presidents Cup success, Mahan has shown he’s a match play titan, and is music to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s ears. 

Ping Golf -- They had three of the top four finishers rocking their new equipment, and the talk of the week was Mahan’s new Nome putter that seemed to help Hunter knock in just about any big putt he needed to make. 

Mark Wilson -- This guy needs to be known more than he is, and this week showed that no matter how short he hits it off the tee, his iron play and short game are second to none. Wilson has won three PGA Tour events in just over 13 months. People need to start acknowledging him as an A-class player in golf. 

Sang-Moon Bae -- Look at the list of players Bae knocked off before losing to Rory Mcilroy; Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and John Senden. Sure, the last wasn’t the biggest name possible, but Bae made McIlroy sweat, and showed that he’s a name we must remember when major championship week rolls around. 

Losers

Rory McIlroy -- Yes, he made it to the finals, and yes, he nearly became the top dog in golf, but if McIlroy wants to be The Man, he must close these types of tournaments out. He has played some incredible golf over the last few months, but winning is everything, and his game in the finals seemed shaky at best. 

Tiger Woods -- Anytime Tiger isn’t in the hunt he’s considered a loser, but boy did he look lost this week with his golf swing. When the season started I thought Woods was close with his game. Now? I’m not so sure even he could be convinced he’s ready to win a PGA Tour tournament. 

Luke Donald -- You’re the number one ranked golfer in the world, and no matter who you’re playing, you can’t lose in the first round of a tournament you’re defending. Donald showed that while the rankings say he’s the best, his game might not agree. 

Rickie Fowler -- Another week, another disappointment. I think Fowler is a good player, but it seems his name rings louder than his game. Fowler lost in the first round to a veteran that admitted after his match that he’d spent the last week away from golf. Not the best endorsement for Fowler’s time to win PGA Tour events. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:19 am
 

The biggest surprises on Wednesday at Accenture

Luke Donald takes a drop during his match against Ernie Els. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Unlike March Madness, the Accenture Match Play is easily the biggest toss up in sports. Rankings? They’re meaningless, and anything can happen. That said, we give you our five biggest upsets of the first round of play. 

Ernie Els defeats Luke Donald -- It wasn’t that Donald was a top seed and Els came in the rugged vet holding a 16 seed, but it was a guy most had forgotten about beating the defending champion and world number one in the world! Els played great, and could definitely make a run here after gaining some confidence by smoking past Donald 5 and 4. 

Miguel Angel-Jimenez defeats Sergio Garcia -- Most thought Sergio, coming off a final round 64 at Riviera to tower up the leaderboard, would be a good pick to possibly upset Rory McIlroy in their side of the draw, but he couldn’t even get out of the first round, falling to his fellow Spaniard. The bright side of things? At least his blue shoes looked good.

David Toms defeats Rickie Fowler -- No, the seeds weren’t far apart (No. 8 vs. No. 9), but Toms openly admitted he hasn’t spent much time on his golf game. That didn’t stop him from taking out fan-favorite Fowler 1-up and giving himself a shot at Martin Kaymer in the next round. 

Ryo Ishikawa defeats Bill Haas -- It isn’t easy coming to an event like this after a gutsy win like Haas had last week, but it seemed like he’d roll Ishikawa after being 3-up with five holes to play. Ryo won four of the next five holes and advanced in the one PGA Tour event he seems the most comfortable in. 

Sang-Moon Bae defeats Ian Poulter -- There aren’t a lot of guys you’d call match play specialists, but Poulter is one of them, so to have him fall to such an unknown like Bae is a head-scratcher.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: June 2, 2011 3:48 pm
 

No tap-outs for Fowler at Memorial this week

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Rickie Fowler blew off a group dinner opportunity on Wednesday night at a famous local burger joint called the Thurman Cafe.

To borrow a marketing phrase from a few years ago, there wasn't much question as to, "where's the beef."

It wasn't just on the dinner plate. It was parked on the opposite side of the table.

As it turned out, one of the dinner guests was Mark Coleman, a famous brawler in Ultimate Fighting Championship circles and a former wrestler at nearby Ohio State. When Fowler didn't make it, XM Radio's Michael Collins posted a video of Coleman, staring menacingly into the camera recorder from across the dinner table, a bandana on his head, ragging on the second-year pro.

In a faux growl, Coleman said of Fowler's social gaffe, "that's a bogey five."

Here's the clip: http://twitvid.com/HSNJM

There weren't a lot of bogeys on Fowler's card in the first round of the Memorial Tournament, where he shot a 4-under 68 that included a hole-out from the fairway for an eagle on the 15th hole.

Fowler has started to take some heat in certain circles because he hasn't won and has generated mountains of hype. In fact, he hasn't seriously contended on the weekend since finishing second at the Memorial last year, where he led in the fiinal round before making a momentum-draining double-bogey on the 12th hole.

"I haven't been in contention a whole lot," Fowler said of his season, which included two top-10 finishes. "I've had a few looks. I've been more consistent ... made more cuts."

Indeed, the colorful, 22-year-old Ryder Cup hero has six top-20 finishes and three missed cuts in 13 starts.

"I'm trying to step it up," he said. "I need to start playing a little better."

Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Quail Hollow flips lid at Fowler fashion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rickie Fowler laughed as he related the story, which, when you think about it, is pretty darned absurd.

"I am such a trouble-maker," he said.

For the second time in a month, Fowler was chastized by an official associated with the host club at a sanctioned PGA Tour event, and adjudged guilty of the heinous crime of wearing his hat backwards.

Fowler, a savvy 22-year-old who usually flips around his hat during interviews so people can see his face and the logo of his website that is stitched across the back of the cap, first was told to turn his hat around when he entered the interview room at Augusta National a month ago. He quickly complied.

Wednesday, with his lid on backward in the parking lot of the Quail Hollow Club, a man approached him, identified himself as a club member and informed him that there was a club rule regarding hats and asked Fowler to wear it properly. So he flipped it around again, bill facing forward.

Gee, and we wonder why golf has such a stiff image in the eyes of, oh, about 90 percent of the world's populace? Maybe somebody ought to point out to the suits at these stuffy clubs that Fowler has become the third-most popular fan draw behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, specifically because he's young and doesn't look like every other player on the tour.

"I wasn't sure if the guy was kidding or not," Fowler said after shooting a 4-under 68 in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Thursday, Fowler conducted his post-round interviews with his hat on backward, as usual.
Posted on: March 24, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 9:43 am
 

Fowler on spring break rampage, too

ORLANDO, Fla. -- I'll say it again, because it's as true now as it's ever been.

Rickie Fowler is becoming the third-biggest draw on the PGA Tour behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

All it took was one glance at the two high-school girls who were serving as volunteers on the Arnold Palmer Invitational driving range. They were practically blushing when he walked out of the scoring trailer, eyeing him like he was a Playgirl centerfold.

"I'll give the a little nod when I walk by," Fowler cracked.

They would have fainted if he had.

The 22-year-old put together the best round of the morning wave with a 3-under 69 on Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which left him in a tie for the early lead.

Fowler, the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and a Ryder Cup player, appeals to a completely different demographic. Since it's spring break, that fan niche was out in force following him in the first round.

He could have had the outright lead. He three-putted his last two holes from the fringe for bogey, lipping out par puts both times.

Fowler won an American Junior Golf Association "major" at Bay Hill five years ago, so he;s had a few laps around the track. He certainly looked at ease.

"I like it, it's a tough golf course," he said. "It's a shot-maker's course and I feel like I have always been strong in my shot-making abilities."

Fowler is off to a solid, if slightly unspectacular. start this year. He has two top-10 finished and two more in the top-20, but hasn't really contended on the weekend. However, two weeks ago at Doral, he showed signs of coming around on the weekend with rounds of 68 and 66 to finish eighth, his best result of the year.

Fowler has been auditioning a series drivers this year, using four different models already, before settling one one three weeks ago that seems to be doing the trick.

Category: Golf
Posted on: October 4, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Rookie Rickie proves he's no guppy in Wales

NEWPORT, Wales – Amid the madness, eventual defeat and even a few tears, the United States might have found a player on Monday who can lead the team into the next decade of Ryder Cup competition.

If not carry it.

Staging one of the biggest comebacks under duress of any rookie player in event history, 21-year-old Rickie Fowler birdied the last four holes, rallied from a 4-down deficit and salvage a half point against Europe’s Edoardo Molinari that nearly proved enough to retain the vaunted trophy.

As he did in the second session, Fowler rolled in a clutch birdie on the 18th green to claim a half point, which on Monday seemed like it might spur the American side to an incredible, improbable win. But U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell won the last match and secured a one-point win for the Europeans.

That hardly obscured what Fowler had done. A somewhat controversial wildcard pick because he’s been a professional for all of 13 months and has not won on the PGA Tour, Fowler not only validated his selection, he announced it with blaring horns.

He was 4 down with six to play and his point had almost completely been written off. But two birdies set the stage for another on the 17th, a 15-foot that cut the lead to one.

“What a comeback,” his father Rod said. “He’s always been kind  of a clutch player who feeds off the pressure. I don’t know how he does it.

“When he made that putt on 17, I almost hit the ground.”

Had he missed, the match would have been over. Fowler was dormie and had to win all four closing holes to secure his half-point.

A day earlier, Fowler had knocked in a four-footer for birdie while partnered with Jim Furyk to steal a half-point in an alternate-shot match. Obviously, the way it all played out – a half-point kept the Americans from retaining the trophy in a 14-14 tie – every fraction of a point was huge, too.

“When I played with him in the second session, he showed a lot of guts, a lot of grit,” Furyk said. “He was hitting against Lee Westwood and played him shot for shot. I promise you he had Lee sweating a little bit. Then, just a gutsy finish. He had to make a couple of three- or four-footers out there down the stretch and then I knocked one in there close.”

After he made the putt, Fowler smiled and admitted that it was “just outside my comfort zone.”

“I had no doubt in my mind that he was going to knock that putt in,” Furyk said. “Then to see what he did on 17 and 18 today, incredible. He had a lot of guts and I am really proud of him and what a wonderful pick for the team.”

Fowler played in the Walker Cup, a team event against Great Britain and Ireland for amateur, last year. He’s come a long way in a hurry, obviously, but he never seemed remotely overmatched this week by the players he faced or the arena itself.

“We knew we had a shot, and to have a chance to win, in Europe, which has not been done in a while, is what we came here to do,” Fowler said. “We all felt we could win, and I knew especially today I would have to work hard, especially getting in the position I was in.

“I felt the point that turned around in my match or got me pumped up again was, I saw Tiger [Woods] make a putt on 13 from about 50 feet and that kind of gave me a little extra life. I went on to win the hole with a par, and that kept me moving those last four where I made a little run.

“I just want to say, it's been an awesome week for me. At 21, playing Walker Cup last year, and to come and play Ryder Cup this year, it's been pretty cool to be on a team with all of these guys.”

“Cool” is a word often used in association with Fowler, too.

Category: Golf
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com