Disappointed as he was to have lost to Jason Day in the semifinals of the Match Play, Rickie Fowler regrouped and knew he had a lot to play for in the consolation game against Ernie Els.
“Third is better than fourth,” he said. “But it was another chance to play well (after having missed three cuts in a row). I knew my game was in a good position, I just hadn’t been making cuts. But it probably looked worse than it was.”
But Fowler is a shrewd kid and he knew that the greater truth was “there was more money, more FedEx Cup points, more Ryder Cup points, more World Ranking points.
“I hadn’t earned a lot of FedEx Cup points, so it was a big week for me.”
By beating Els with a birdie on the 19th hole, Fowler received 200 FEC points, 60 more than The Big Easy, and pushed from 130th place to 49th. He also climbed into 20th place in the Ryder Cup standings, from 53rd.
World ranking points? Fowler received 28.8 (Els got 21.6) and moved from 56th to 38th.
Of course, money still matters (ever see a guy buy a Porsche with FEC points?) and the $630,000 Fowler received was $110,000 more than what Els got.
Another positive byproduct of his Match Play performance: When it ended, it meant that Fowler could finally get a chance to reacquaint himself with his home in Jupiter, Fla.
He said he had been there one week since October.
Fowler rattled off the itinerary that has kept him on the go:
In mid-October he went off on a journey – three weeks in Asia, then a week in Los Angeles, then to Thailand – that took him to near Christmas, which he spent in the Bahamas. Finally, he returned to Jupiter for New Year’s Eve, but then it was time for the West Coast swing and tournaments in Palm Springs, San Diego, Phoenix, and the Match Play in Marana, Ariz.
“I’m excited to be sleeping in my own bed,” he said.