Rickie Fowler has not had a great start to the 2012 season. The only time he has been visible lately is swinging a Cobra driver at some oranges on television.
Fowler had a short but stellar collegiate career at golf factory Oklahoma State, and was the number one ranked amateur player in the world for 36 weeks in 2007 and 2008.
As a freshman at OSU he won the second collegiate tournament that he entered, the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational at -7 under par, which included a second round 63. He finished in the top ten in the first ten collegiate tournaments that he entered.
Fowler was Big 12 Player of the Year and finished tied for fourth at the 2008 NCAA championships.
His outstanding play earned him the Phil Mickelson award given to the top freshman golfer in the land. Rickie was also the first freshman ever to win the prestigious Ben Hogan award, recognized as the top collegiate player in the nation.
With fat sponsorship agreements with Titleist and Puma, his entry into the professional ranks after participating in the Walker Cup was one of the most highly anticipated events in 2009.
Rickie finished tied for seventh in his first event as a professional, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. He followed that up by finishing in a three-way tie at the 2009 Frys.com Open, but lost in a playoff to Troy Matteson.
He finished T-15 at the 2009 PGA Q-School and became fully exempt for the 2010 season.
Early in the 2010 season, Fowler was in contention in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He has had to endure some media criticism, however, for his decision to rely on his superb wedge game and lay up rather than go for the green on the par-5, 15th at TPC Scottsdale. He made pars the rest of the way into the clubhouse and eventually finished runner-up to Hunter Mahan.
Rickie also finished runner-up in June at the Memorial and had a third place finish at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in November of 2010.
He ended his rookie season with seven top-tens, 20 made cuts, and $2.8 million in earnings which placed him 32nd in the FedEx Cup standings for the year.
He had a solid sophomore season on the PGA Tour in 2011 with 11 top-tens and 19 made cuts, earning $2.0 million for 43rd in the FedEx Cup standings.
He did pick up his first ever professional win in October last year on the One Asia Tour at the Kolon Korea Open. Besting one of the world’s other great young players, Rory McIlroy.
Coming into the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Rickie had one missed cut and had only one top-25 in four events thus far in 2012.
Ranked No. 38 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Fowler was a nine-seed in Tucson and was beaten one-up by veteran David Toms in the first round.
Rickie has been a huge hit with younger golf fans, and he's a media darling. He says all the right things, maintains a positive image and is a public relations sensation.
Since joining the tour in 2009 Rickie has amassed over $5.5 million in earnings, was picked for the 2010 Ryder Cup Team and won the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. Not too shabby for a 23 year old by any stretch of the imagination.
He has one minor flaw, however. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour. Just like his colorful wardrobe, Fowler has shown flashes of brilliance but has yet to collect a PGA trophy to put on his mantle.
I remember another highly touted amateur several years ago. He amassed several second place finishes in his first few years on tour, had to endure media criticism and had a difficult time breaking through for his first PGA win. His name was Tom Watson.
Yeah, he turned out all right.
Rickie is only 23 and in just his third full year on tour. He will figure it out and when he does he will win in bunches.
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