New Rocket Mortgage Classic champion Rickie Fowler has set his focus firmly on making the USA Ryder Cup team after breaking a four-and-a-half year winless run on the PGA Tour on Sunday.
Fowler fended off Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin in a playoff at Detroit Golf Club, landing a birdie at the first extra hole to re-enter the winner’s circle for the first time since Phoenix in 2019.
And now the 34-year old Californian is looking to surf a wave of momentum right through summer with a final destination in Rome for a hopeful fifth appearance at September’s Ryder Cup.
“Definitely one of the main goals this year was to win,” Fowler said on Sunday having moved into 12th in the Ryder Cup qualification standings.
“Outside of that was obviously playing well and doing what I’ve been doing to make it to the Tour Championship.
“One of the end goals was to be a part of the Ryder Cup team and that’s still what we’re focusing on right now. Been a part of a handful and they’re very special weeks, so that’s where I have my eyes.
“But I’m planning to continue to play well and looking forward to a couple weeks over the pond with the Scottish and the British coming up, especially with how I’ve been playing, and how I am playing.”
As much and all as Fowler hopes to make his presence felt in Rome, performances from now until September’s biennial contest will ultimately decide his fate. Up to now, that form has been nothing but consistent, Fowler knocking off top-10s at the Charles Schwab Challenge and The Memorial with his stats propelling him to a top-5 ranking on the Data Golf charts.
Of course, he narrowly missed out on a Major in the meantime too, holding the overnight lead heading into the final round of the U.S. Open at LACC before succumbing to the Sunday pressure.
However, that’s just another experience for Fowler to draw on and after using that scar tissue to his advantage in Detroit, Rickie will undoubtedly have the upcoming Open date at Hoylake circled on the calendar; a venue where he chased in vain on the final day in 2014 before grabbing a podium finish as Rory McIlroy reigned supreme.
“Any situation prior helps, but the more recent, the better,” Fowler said of getting himself in the mix. “I’ve been in contention plenty of times and I’ve won, and I’ve also not played well or been close and not been able to convert.
“Definitely over the last couple weeks with Los Angeles [U.S. Open] and last week [Travelers Championship] I felt better and played better, just didn’t score.
“The last two weekends definitely helped going into today, just know that I didn’t have to be perfect, just had to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Like I said, I felt like we did a really good job of it other than not really converting a few opportunities there on the back nine.”