Fowler, Mahan exit PGA needing help for Ryder Cup
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan came to Kiawah Island to win a golf tournament, but deep inside they also came to garner a spot on Davis Love III’s Ryder Cup roster. Neither occurred as both left the Ocean Course battered and bruised, with little to show for two days' worth of hard work.
Fowler was 12th on the Ryder Cup points list coming into the week, but he has struggled during the past four events.
After his first PGA Tour victory, at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, Fowler tied for second at The Players Championship and followed that with a T-5 at the Colonial Plaza Invitational. For the rest of the summer, Fowler has made cuts but struggled to contend, finishing T-42 at Memorial, T-41 at the U.S. Open, T-31 at the Open Championship and T-60 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“I'm not playing bad,” Fowler said after a second-round 80 here Friday. “There's been a few times where one mistake has kind of compounded into something a little more than it should be, and I gave away a few shots yesterday. Good thing we've got a week in front of us to get a little bit of work in.”
For Hunter Mahan, his game has been brilliant at times in 2012. He won in February at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and five weeks later at the Shell Houston Open.
Since then, Mahan has only one top 10, a tie for eighth at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in June, and has struggled to regain the form from earlier in the year.
“I just had no control over the golf ball, basically,” Mahan said after his second-round 80. “I just had no idea where it was going.”
Ninth on the Ryder Cup points list, Mahan also has lost control of his destiny and will need Love to pick him again. Mahan was a captain's pick in 2008 and earned his way onto the team in 2010.
“This isn't a one‑tournament pick,” Mahan said. "Luckily, I've been on the last five teams (including Presidents Cup teams in 2007, '09 and '11) and had some good success there. Unfortunately throughout eight months of golf, you're not going to play well every week. You're not going to play well when you want to.”
Fowler will have to show something special over the next three weeks, before Love makes his four captain’s picks.
Fowler said Love shared some advice at an impromptu dinner for Ryder Cup prospects on Thursday night.
“ 'Try not to worry about making the team or putting any extra pressure on yourself to play well,' " Fowler said, recalling Love's counsel. " 'Just go out there.' “Obviously that's what I was trying to do. Obviously everyone's goal is to make the team that has a chance. Yeah, go out there and get some practice next week and a couple tournaments to prove myself.”