Rickie Fowler became nearly $2 million richer Sunday. The 26-year-old picked up arguably the biggest win of his career, prevailing in a four-hole playoff at the 2015 Players Championship.
Few had Fowler as a serious contender entering the final round, but he gained six strokes over the final six holes to get to 12 under for the tournament. That got him into a playoff with Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.
Fowler finished at two under over the four holes to capture the title.
Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard thinks Fowler's victory helps to shed the "overrated" label many have saddled him with over the years:
He had gone 69 PGA Tour starts without a win before Sunday, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Fowler opted for a more understated approach with his post-tournament comments, per the PGA Tour:
By itself, winning the Players Championship is a massive accomplishment. The win will be particularly sweeter for Fowler since he's in line to collect $1.8 million for his efforts. It's not a bad return for four days' work.
The total purse for the Players Championship is a whopping $10 million, tying the PGA Championship as the most lucrative tournament on the PGA Tour. One and Done 1 provided a breakdown for the individual payouts:
|2015 Players Championship Payouts|
|One & Done 1|
Kisner had a chance to avoid the playoff altogether on the final hole of the tournament. He had a makable birdie putt on No. 18 that just lipped out, so Kisner had to settle for a three-way tie for first and the playoff.
As if Kisner didn't have enough of a reason to be kicking himself after that final putt, Golf Channel's Justin Ray highlighted how Garcia and Fowler had performed better on the three playoff holes than Kisner did over the four rounds:
Kisner didn't let his disappointment creep into the playoff. In fact, he looked completely unfazed by the occasion, arguably the most pressure-packed situation in his PGA Tour career. Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman felt Kisner had a confidence that belied his inexperience:
His birdie putt on No. 17 drove home the fact that Kisner wasn't rattled at all, per the PGA Tour:
Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat that on the sudden-death playoff hole. Fowler's drive on No. 17 fell roughly four feet from the cup:
It was then essentially a foregone conclusion that he'd sink the birdie putt to clinch the victory.
ESPN's Todd Grisham joked that the last thing Fowler needs is more millions; he already has so much going for himself already:
Fowler started his PGA career with a lot of hype, but the results hadn't quite lived up to expectations.
With last year's four top-five major finishes, it appeared Fowler was starting to put everything together. And Sunday's win cements that he's here to stay.
Golf Channel's Gary Williams feels good about the future of the sport with so many young stars emerging at the same time:
The U.S. Open tees off in a little over a month at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. That will be the next hurdle for Fowler to scale.
A win there shouldn't be the minimum expectation, but it would be nice to see him put together another strong performance and at least challenge for the lead on the final day. American golf fans will hope that Fowler's Players Championship showing isn't a false dawn.