SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio dissects the historic course which last hosted the U.S. Open in 2004.
USA TODAY Sports
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — It’s good to be Rickie Fowler.
Fame, fortune and a seaside mansion. The CEO and president of Main Event Productions, his media company. A fashion trend-setter. A social media giant.
And now, after dropping to one knee and popping the question on a beach on Long Island on June 8, an engaged man to Allison Stokke, a track and field athlete and fitness model.
“There was nothing planned out. I just really didn’t want to carry the ring around any longer,” Fowler said with a smile on Wednesday.
Oh, and ahead of Thursday’s start in the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Fowler played a friendly round of golf Tuesday with five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, with Phil Mickelson joining the group on the back nine.
“I’ll tell you what, Tom Brady can putt,” Fowler said.
All in all, all is well in Rickie World.
But now that he’s off the market, he wants to come off the list of best players not to have won a major. The title is a double-edged sword, one that says you are good enough to win a major yet stating you haven’t.
Fowler has said he’s honored to be in the conversation. And he’s said he wants to leave the conversation.
“I’ve been very close,” the world No. 7 who has eight wins around the world, including the 2015 Players Championship. He also has eight top-5s in majors before turning 30, the most recent a runner-up finish in the Masters, where he played the last 11 holes in 6 under but fell one shot short of Patrick Reed.
“There’s some scores that I’ve shot that have been good enough to win majors, but we haven’t been able to get it done that specific week,” Fowler said. “We all know I’m good enough to win. I know I’m good enough to win.”
Four-time major champ Rory McIlroy said Fowler will win a major.
“I’d be very surprised if Rickie didn’t have multiple majors by the end of his career,” McIlroy said. “He’s a great player. His game is highly regarded by all his peers. He’s a wonderful player, a lot of imagination, has all the shots, which is something you need around here.”
Add Jack Nicklaus to the list of people who think Fowler will win a major.
“It will happen to Rickie,” the winner of a record 18 majors said. “Rickie’s a tough competitor and you can watch him coming down the stretch and he’ll get it up-and-down from anywhere under pressure. He’s done that to win other tournaments and he’ll do that eventually during a week that’s a major.”
Fowler said he isn’t sweating his major-less resume, for he’s confident in his abilities and knows Ben Hogan and Mickelson were 33 when they won their first major and Sergio Garcia was 37. And this week, he’s playing one of his favorite courses in the world, one he fell in love with in 2013.
“I’m definitely rested, ready to go,” Fowler said. “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing. I’m definitely not putting any extra pressure on. I just have to make it happen, to get it done at the right time.”