While Rickie Fowler was debating whether to play last week’s Dell Technologies Championship, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk sent Fowler, who was back home recovering from a partially torn right oblique muscle, a text with some words of wisdom from past captain Davis Love III.
The message: “No one has ever said they’ve come back from injury too late.”
Fowler, who had experienced some pain when he had tried to swing a club the week prior, opted to skip his second straight FedEx Cup Playoffs event. He continued a rehab regime of rest, heat, ice and laser therapy from a doctor friend in Jupiter, Fla., and slowly worked his way to playing a full 18 holes. Last Wednesday, after 17 days away from the golf course, Fowler posted a video of himself playing a round.
He then played Thursday-Sunday, trying to simulate 72 holes of competition. His oblique held up.
“It was nice to come back and not have pain,” Fowler said, “but I wouldn’t have been able to be prepared to play a tournament.”
Now, it’s time for Fowler to test his oblique in competition.
He’ll enter the BMW Championship at Arnomink at No. 26 in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 30 after this qualify for the Tour Championship. If Fowler were to miss out on a ticket to East Lake, he’ll have played just one tournament in six weeks going into the Ryder Cup in Paris.
Not ideal, Fowler says.
“We have some work to do this week and I think, ultimately, I’d like to not just get into East Lake but put myself in a good position to have a chance there,” Fowler said.
Fowler has still not had a follow-up MRI on his injury, which he suffered Saturday of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after hitting a 6-iron off the seventh tee. He played through the injury at Firestone and the following week at the PGA Championship, where he finished 12th.
“I kind of had to go into somewhat protection mode,” Fowler said. “I was taped up fairly good to help make sure I wasn’t going to stress that area too much. We managed our way around I felt like the best we could. It was nice to be in the mix but, unfortunately, we didn’t have a hundred percent.”
Fowler is feeling much better, though he still won’t try to overdo things this week.
“I just won’t try and reach back and go after a driver a hundred percent,” Fowler said. “Play to my strengths and I don’t look at where I’m at right now, I don’t have any, you know, fear in the back of my head of re-injuring right now.”