(Photo credit score: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports)
Rickie Fowler arrived in Japan this week with a vastly totally different perspective on the golf course than 12 months in the past.
He was a hundred and sixtieth within the Official World Golf Ranking forward of the 2022 Zozo Championship, mired in a multi-year stoop that had seen him plummet as little as 185 — properly out of vary to qualify for marquee occasions. However, Fowler had retooled his swing — once more — and had seen indicators of progress with a tie for sixth on the Fortinet Championship to start the 2022-23 season.
After lacking the reduce in Las Vegas, he traveled to Japan and held the lead after 36 and 54 holes. A 70 on Sunday left Fowler a shot behind winner Keegan Bradley, however the profession rebound was on.
He would go on to make 12 consecutive cuts, posting eight top-20s within the course of. Fowler was in competition earlier than fading on Sunday on the U.S. Open after which snapped a three-year winless drought on the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Solid type all through the spring and summer time propelled Fowler to the Tour Championship and a spot on the United States Ryder Cup staff.
Now he is again for a 3rd Zozo Championship in Japan, a rustic the place he enjoys a large fan base. His maternal grandfather can also be Japanese.
“I have a lot more self-belief and confidence and momentum coming into — or at the end of last year, August, you know, been about two, three years of tough times on the golf course. So, to have some good finishes, one at Napa and then here at Zozo, those were two big weeks for me to kind of hit the reset or restart,” Fowler stated Tuesday.
“Zozo was a big part of why I had success this year. That was one that kind of helped me build some confidence and momentum going into what was a little bit of an offseason and really helped propel me to play some good golf this year. Coming off of that, obviously know that I can play well here and looking forward to continue that and hopefully do one better than last year.”
There will little question be huge fan bases following Fowler’s group for the primary two days, if solely as a result of he’s paired with 2021 winner and Japanese celebrity Hideki Matsuyama. Bradley is the third participant within the group.
“I feel like I have a great following here in Japan and usually have a handful of fans that are out there supporting me, but it’s going to be a completely different level playing with Hideki,” Fowler stated. “Hideki’s a rock star over right here and I’m wanting ahead to it. He’s somebody I like as an individual, as a participant, take pleasure in being round him in addition to his caddie.
“It will be an exciting atmosphere, for sure, for both myself and Keegan to see the show of Hideki in Japan.”
After the Zozo, Fowler will play in Tiger Wood’s Hero World Challenge earlier than teaming with Lexi Thompson within the Grant Thornton Invitational in December. But he is already waiting for 2024, the place he has certified for elevated occasions and has an eye fixed on returning to the Olympics in Paris.
“I would say the Olympics would be similar to what my goal of the Ryder Cup was last year,” he stated. ” I have a lot of work to do to make the Olympic team, but I would — if I were to do that, I would have accomplished a lot of things that I want to and there would be a lot of good golf.”
–Field Level Media