Rickie Fowler Targets First Masters Appearance In Three Years
The American is looking to break back into the world's top 50 by the week before next month's Major to qualify
Rickie Fowler has enjoyed a resurgence in form in recent months, which included a runner-up finish in last October’s Zozo Championship and a tie for 10th in February’s WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
That has helped him leap back up the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to World No.59 – his highest position since January 2021.
Fowler, who was World No.185 as recently as September, now has his eye on qualifying for this year’s Masters. While he currently wouldn't qualify, reaching the top 50 the week before the tournament, which begins on 6 April, would ensure the American's appearance. This week, he has the chance to break back into that elite group for the first time since November 2020.
Thanks to his uptick in form, Fowler is in the field the WGC-Match Play at Austin Country Club. If he finishes top of his group ahead of Jon Rahm, Billy Horschel and Keith Mitchell to move into the last 16, then he makes it as far as the quarter-final, he could once again be back in the top 50 – and move within touching distance of his first Masters appearance in three years.
Speaking to the media ahead of this week's tournament, Fowler responded to a question that pointed out what he needs to do to get back into the world’s top 50 by saying: “I mean, yeah, I knew I needed to come here and play well. I wasn’t sure of exactly what I needed to do.
"The nice thing with the kind of world rankings and what’s coming off, really, anything I do that puts points on the board is only going to move me up from here moving forward. So, yeah, I mean, my short-term goal is to obviously get myself back in Augusta.”
Fowler returned to coach Butch Harmon last September and admitted he needed to start with a clean slate. He said: “I mean, I was kind of at a point, 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, and it was definitely nice to see some immediate progress or steps in the right direction.
“Then 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. But, yeah, I would say after the season last year, it was just, all right, let’s figure out a plan, start with a clean slate. And at that point, it was either low or kind of no expectations, and just we’re going to put the work in and see what we can do.”
Fowler also revealed that, with one eye on The Masters, he also plans on appearing in next week's Valero Texas Open. He said: "I'm committed and planning on playing there. If I do play well enough, we'll kind of maybe reconsider and see where we're at. But, yeah, kind of doing whatever I need to do to give myself the best chance to be in Augusta, and then planning to play the following week at Hilton Head as well."
Whether or not his upward momentum will continue to the degree that he reaches Augusta National, Fowler explained he is comfortable with his progress. He said: “If that doesn’t happen, we’re going to continue to move forward and be in a good position.”
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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