Rickie Fowler’s rise on the Official World Golf Ranking has been fun for golf fans to watch this season after he struggled in recent years to remain consistent in his tournament rounds.
But his recent success will be tested at Austin Country Club this week at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, where his Masters invitation could be on the line.
The Top 50 golfers in the world will be invited to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club after this week, and the major tournament begins April 6.
Fowler heads into Austin ranked No. 59 in the world. While he has been playing much better of late, he’ll need to stay locked in if he wants to head to Augusta in two weeks.
Fowler is confident he can do so, telling pgatour.com his finishes this past fall — a tied-sixth position at the Fortinet Championship and tied-second finish at the Zozo Championship — helped him rocket up the rankings.
“Once I got some good finishes in the fall, that helped kind of put me in a position where I knew what I could do and what was possible,” Fowler said. “I would say, after the season last year, it was just, ‘All right, let’s figure out a plan, start with a clean slate.'”
That plan involved teaming up with his old swing coach, Butch Harmon, and mutually parting ways with his caddie, Joe Skovron. Fowler was once the No. 4 player in the world, but he began this year’s season at 185th.
“I knew what I was capable of but had to go in with kind of either low or no expectations and just put the work in,” Fowler said “And it was definitely nice to see some immediate progress or steps in the right direction.”
Fowler, 34, remains one of the most recognizable faces on the course. He was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2010 followed by four Ryder Cup and three Presidents Cup appearances. Fowler, though, has yet to win a major in his career. He came close in August 2018, when he shot 14-under but lost by one stroke to Patrick Reed.
He could get another shot at winning the green jacket. But, first, he must do well in Austin. It will be match play this week, so it’s single elimination after group play.
Fowler will have to make it out of group play first, and he has some tough matchups. The No. 2 player in the world, Jon Rahm, is in his group, as well as Billy Horschel and Keith Mitchell. Horschel won the tournament two years ago.
“I’m going to need to play well all three days,” Fowler said, via pgatour.com.
Fowler has collected five PGA Tour wins over his career, including the 2015 Players Championship.