Masters 2014: Rickie Fowler shines in practice

Rickie Fowler's game is coming together at the right time as he bids to challenge for his first Major Championship at the 2014 Masters

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler is in good form heading into the 2014 Masters

Rickie Fowler's game is coming together at the right time as he bids to challenge for his first Major Championship at the 2014 Masters

Words: Robin Barwick

It’s unofficial, but in a Tuesday practice match at Augusta National, Rickie Fowler posted nine birdies and an eagle as he partnered Phil Mickelson to a 2&1 fourball triumph over Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson. Fowler and Mickelson combined to shoot a better-ball score of 59, 13 under par.

There has been a lot of talk about the chances this week of reigning Open champion Mickelson, reigning PGA champion Dufner and world number-11 Johnson, but perhaps it is world number-39 Fowler who should be attracting the attention at Augusta this week.

“It was Phil and I against Dustin and Dufner,” said Fowler at an event last night hosted by Mercedes-Benz. “Dustin and Jason wanted revenge for a match we had at Doral, when we took them on, but they didn’t get it.”

Message to US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson: Mickelson-Fowler could work at Gleneagles – not so sure about Dufner-Johnson though. Fowler scored superbly on one of the toughest golf courses in the world here, and did it despite constant distractions from his own playing partner.

“It’s free game out there,” admits Fowler, “Even from my own partner. Phil made a birdie on eight, and I had a 10-footer to take me to five-under par, and he was telling me he thought the putt was going left, even though it was going a cup to the right. He said: ‘It breaks left early,’ and I was thinking, ‘No it doesn’t’. Phil was trying to get into my head, even when he is my own partner. I went ahead and made the putt and we moved on.

“Phil loves throwing little jabs in there, and he talks the whole time. We walked off the ninth tee, two up at the time, and Phil said, ‘You know, in the history of these matches over the past 20 years, no-one has ever won a match from four down’. Dustin said: ‘We’re not four down’, and Phil said: ‘Yeah, but when we win two more holes the match will virtually be over’. We were having a good time.”

After an inconsistent start to the 2104 PGA Tour season, Fowler feels his game is coming together at the right time.

“I am in a really good spot with my game right now,” says the 25-year-old, who has not won since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship. “This year for me has seen what golf can be like. I was swinging the club really well earlier in the year, but missed three cuts because I was not getting the ball up and down.

“I got my game going at the Accenture Match Play, and then after a couple of decent tournaments I played well last week, so it is nice to have everything trending in the right direction, particularly coming into this week.”

Fowler tees off with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and American Jimmy Walker at 9:35 tomorrow in the first round.

Robin Barwick travelled to Augusta National courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, Global Sponsor of the 2014 Masters Tournament.





Nick Bonfield
Content Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x