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Rickie Fowler prepares for PGA Championship, doesn't rule out LIV

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Published in Golf
Monday, 16 May 2022 10:30

Rickie Fowler finished inside the top five in all four majors in 2014. He now finds himself four years removed from his most recent top-five finish in a major championship, at the 2018 Masters.

Fowler, who climbed as high as No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is now the 146th-ranked player in the world, sandwiched between Seonghyeon Kim and Scott Vincent. He’s in the field at this week’s PGA Championship by virtue of a T-8 finish last year at Kiawah. He competed last year by virtue of an exemption.

Since that week at Kiawah, Fowler has just one top-10 finish – a T-3 at the CJ Cup – compared to eight missed cuts in that same timeframe. Fowler talked Monday about trying to play with confidence even when the results aren’t there.

“I know it's there. It's more just the confidence building right now,” Fowler said. “I feel like over the last couple years, it's been really tough to build momentum, and momentum is really what builds confidence and you can kind of start riding that wave. Yeah, there's been no swell. I haven't been able to ride anything. So finally started to see some things, and I'm excited about it.”

If ever there was a week for Fowler to get back on track, it’s this week.

Southern Hills is just a little more than an hour drive from Oklahoma State, where Fowler played his college golf, and he’s still a major star in the state he once called home. The size of his gallery Monday was only topped by the massive crowd following Tiger Woods, and there were more than a few spectators yelling out “Go Pokes” and “Orange Power” as Fowler made his way around the front nine.

Talor Gooch, another former Cowboy star, also made his way around the front nine Monday morning in front of the friendly home crowd. Gooch, who was born and raised just outside Oklahoma City and still lives in the area, talked about the support he’s received from Fowler over the years.

“He’s been so incredible and humble and just likable from when I was a 16-year-old,” Gooch said. “He’s just the same old Rick … It's another dream-come-true thing. When I was in high school, watching Rickie Fowler playing Walker Cups and going straight to the Tour and hoping to be on the same path as him and now we are living the same type of life. It's just crazy.”

Regardless of the outcome this week for Fowler, it sounds like there are some decisions looming about his future in the game. He revealed Monday that he has been approached by LIV Golf and didn’t rule out the possibility of playing somewhere other than the PGA Tour.

“To be straightforward with you guys, I haven't necessarily made a decision one way or the other,” Fowler said. “I've mentioned in the past, do I currently think that the PGA Tour is the best place to play? I do. Do I think it can be better? Yes.

“So I think it's an interesting position. Obviously there's the LIV and Premier, as well. These tours or leagues or whatever, they wouldn't really be coming up if they didn't see that there was more opportunity out there … I think competition ultimately makes people better, whether it's business, sport. So it's interesting, that's for sure.”

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