Rickie Fowler finishes T-11 at Masters after disappointing final-round 76

Getty Images

Rickie Fowler finishes T-11 at Masters after disappointing final-round 76

PGA Tour

Rickie Fowler finishes T-11 at Masters after disappointing final-round 76

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rather than move up the leaderboard late Sunday at Augusta National, Rickie Fowler moved one spot up on the list of greatest golfers to have never won a major.

One off the lead at 5 under and paired with fellow 20-something phenom Jordan Spieth in the second-to-last group, Rickie Fowler had a great opportunity to slip on the green jacket and out of the aforementioned discussion. For Fowler, the wait will continue.

The day ultimately belonged to the veterans. Fowler and Spieth fizzled down the stretch, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose pulled away and the 37-year-old Garcia finally captured his first major, in a playoff.

“It would have been nice to swing a little better, like I have been,” Fowler said. “Bogeying the last three holes didn’t help and those could have easily been pars. And I didn’t make anything today. I didn’t make the putts.”

Fowler got off to a fine start with birdie at No. 3 to get to 6 under but bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5, his first bogey on either hole this week.

He got back to even par on the round and 5 under for the tournament with a birdie at the par-5 eighth, lofting a wedge in blind from behind a massive greenside mound to give himself an easy putt. He was just three off the lead with plenty of birdie holes ahead, while Spieth was struggling amid a front-nine 38.

“When I was out of it, I was his biggest cheerleader,” Spieth said. “… I felt like if I was able to hang in there and we were able to feed off each other, then we would have been able to push through like you saw Sergio and Justin (were) able to do today. And we could have definitely done that today, we’re both capable of it. The stage wasn’t too big, it just didn’t quite happen.”

The wheels fell off late and Fowler shot 40 on the back nine. He’s been right in the thick of things late in major championships and should get there again soon. But there are no guarantees, even for 28-year-olds so talented that the major question is not if but how many?

“I felt good going to the back nine, felt I was going to get plenty of opportunities with a couple of pins and par 5s,” Fowler said. “If I make a couple putts, it’s completely different. I missed multiple putts and you can’t do that.”

A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Fowler’s resume includes the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship, the 2015 Players Championship and February’s Honda Classic. It’s an impressive list, certainly, but it still lacks a topper to match his serious potential.

The patrons, as they’re called around here, show their respect for every player and give special treatment to a chosen few. Spieth is a 23-year-old rock star at Augusta given his history here, but Fowler is right there with him in terms of fan support. They seem to have deemed him a more-than-worthy potential Masters champion and cheer him at every turn. Despite finishing inside the top 12 for the third straight year, Fowler remained in the “potential” category as he finished on 18 Sunday.

“The galleries here have always been great,” Fowler said. “It would have been nice if (Spieth and I) could have given them a reason to get a little louder. Unfortunately, didn’t do a whole lot of that.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home