Rickie Fowler Wins The Players 2015 - Special Feature
Posted at May 12, 2015
Special Feature - Rickie Fowler Wins The Players Championship
A quite incredible end at TPC Sawgrass saw Rickie Fowler win The Players Championship and here we look at how Rickie Fowler proved all the doubters wrong in the most effective way possible.
Sometimes you simply cannot write the script in golf. Coming into this, the 'fifth' major championship, it had been widely reported that 'Rickie Fowler' was the most popular answer when fellow professionals were asked the question: "who is the most overrated player in golf?" Aside from the fact that this is somewhat irresponsible journalism from Sports Illustrated, the result of this poll didn't appear to faze Rickie Fowler in the public eye but according to those closest to him, he was left reeling.
What makes a player 'overrated' any way? Finishing top five in all four majors in one season, but missing out on a victory? Perhaps, finishing in the top ten of the PGA Tour money list, but missing out on a victory? How about breaking records on one of the toughest courses on the circuit to win The Players Championship from five shots behind the leader? Or how about making three birdies on the treacherous 17th hole with its testing island green no short of three times in one day? His average distance left on those three occasions was just 6' 5" and even stuck it to just 4' 8" in sudden death. But that's overrated too, right?
The Rickie Fowler of two years ago might have let the poll affect him in a different way, but his maturity and new-found confidence from last season allowed him to channel his discontent into his Players performance this week. He briefly led during his first round and shot six-under through 11 holes and we all dared to dream. He was lurking behind the leaders with all four rounds below par but his championship bid never seemed to materialise early enough on Sunday. Then that barrage of birdies and his first eagle of the week came along to secure a play-off spot, but perhaps the most telling fact is that Rickie launched the longest drive of the entire championship (336 yards) - and that was during the third play-off hole. If anyone ever wanted to win a championship to prove a point...
Taking a look at Rickie's scorecard over his last six championship holes is quite astounding, and watching Rickie pepper the greens in such an attacking manner left us all awestruck with wonder. But should we really be that surprised? As we know, Rickie now works with Butch Harmon which can only improve all aspects of anyone's game, whilst Rickie now has the physique to rival even the world number one. Everything just seemed to 'click' at the right time; Rickie went into what Cobra Puma Golf might call 'Go-Time' mode. Birdie - Eagle - Birdie - Birdie, followed up with a further two birdies during four tense play-off holes up against the experience of Sergio Garcia and the form of Kevin Kisner. It was drama of the highest order and quite incredible to watch, with a hugely satisfying outcome for golf fans across the world. A hugely satisfying outcome also for Rickie's bikini model girlfriend, Alexis Randock, who was waiting at the 17th green to congratulate him. By the way, the top prize was $1.8million.
Looking at the wider picture, it is an important win for golf just as much as it is for Rickie Fowler. Rickie's major championship form of last year left us all thinking that 2015 would be the year of the 'Rickie-Rory' rivalry. Then the Masters came along and Jordan Spieth demanded our attention with a masterclass at Augusta. Rory then responded with his WGC match-play victory for his first win of the year, with Spieth really nowhere in sight. But now, we have Rory, Jordan and Rickie at the peak of the game and the trio are three of the finest athletes in the world, each highly respectable and true ambassadors for golf. Golf needed a star and then three came along at once.
Rickie Fowler has now jumped up to a career-high of ninth in the world rankings and will also visit us here in Europe shortly; his entry into the Irish Open, the Scottish Open at Gullane and of course the Open Championship at St. Andrews have all been confirmed. He may have once been 'overrated', but his popularity amongst fellow professionals and fans is indisputable and that performance at TPC Sawgrass was anything but 'overrated'.