Life is good

Rickie Fowler is newly en­gaged, has golfed with Tom Brady and is chas­ing a ma­jor

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Steve DiMeglio

SOUTHAMP­TON, N.Y. — It’s good to be Rickie Fowler. • Fame, for­tune and a sea­side man­sion. The CEO and pres­i­dent of Main Event Pro­duc­tions, his me­dia com­pany. A fash­ion trend­set­ter. A so­cial me­dia gi­ant. • And now, after drop­ping to one knee and pop­ping the ques­tion on a beach on Long Is­land on June 8, an en­gaged man to Al­li­son Stokke, a track and field ath­lete and fit­ness model. • “There was noth­ing planned out. I just re­ally didn’t want to carry the ring around any longer,” Fowler said with a smile Wed­nes­day. • Oh, and ahead of Thurs­day’s start in the 118th U.S. Open at Shin­necock Hills Golf Club, Fowler played a friendly round of golf Tues­day with five-time Su­per Bowl cham­pion Tom Brady, with Phil Mick­el­son join­ing the group on the back nine.

“I’ll tell you what, Tom Brady can putt,” Fowler said.

All in all, all is well in Rickie World. But now that he’s off the mar­ket, he wants to come off the list of best play­ers not to have won a ma­jor. The ti­tle is a dou­ble-edged sword, one that says you are good enough to win a ma­jor yet stat­ing you haven’t.

Fowler has said he’s hon­ored to be in the con­ver­sa­tion. And he has said he wants to leave the con­ver­sa­tion.

“I’ve been very close,” said the world No. 7, who has eight wins around the world, in­clud­ing the 2015 Play­ers Cham­pi­onship. He also has eight top­five fin­ishes in ma­jors be­fore turn­ing 30, the most re­cent a run­ner-up fin­ish in the Masters, where he played the last 11 holes in 6 un­der but fell one shot short of Pa­trick Reed.

“There’s some scores that I’ve shot that have been good enough to win ma­jors, but we haven’t been able to get it done that spe­cific week,” Fowler said. “We all know I’m good enough to win. I know I’m good enough to win.”

Four-time ma­jor champ Rory McIl­roy said Fowler will win a ma­jor.

“I’d be very sur­prised if Rickie didn’t have mul­ti­ple ma­jors by the end of his ca­reer,” McIl­roy said. “He’s a great player. His game is highly re­garded by all his peers. He’s a won­der­ful player, a lot of imagination, has all the shots, which is some­thing you need around here.”

Add Jack Nick­laus to the list of peo­ple who think Fowler will win a ma­jor.

“It will hap­pen to Rickie,” the win- ner of a record 18 ma­jors said. “Rickie’s a tough com­peti­tor, and you can watch him com­ing down the stretch and he’ll get it up-and-down from any­where un­der pres­sure. He’s done that to win other tour­na­ments, and he’ll do that even­tu­ally dur­ing a week that’s a ma­jor.”

Fowler said he isn’t sweat­ing his ma­jor-less ré­sumé, for he’s con­fi­dent in his abil­i­ties and knows Ben Ho­gan and Mick­el­son were 33 when they won their first ma­jor and Ser­gio Gar­cia was 37. And this week, Fowler is play­ing one of his fa­vorite course in the world, one he fell in love with in 2013.

“I’m def­i­nitely rested, ready to go,” Fowler said. “We’ll keep do­ing what we’re do­ing. I’m def­i­nitely not putting any ex­tra pres­sure on. I just have to make it hap­pen, to get it done at the right time.”

BRAD PEN­NER/ USA TO­DAY SPORTS

156 golfers will be be put to the test be­gin­ning Thurs­day at Shin­necock Hills in the U.S. Open.

BRAD PEN­NER/USA TO­DAY

Rickie Fowler’s best U.S. Open was a tie for sec­ond in 2014.

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