Is this the week Fowler has ma­jor break­through?

Times Colonist - - Sports - BARRY WIL­NER

SOUTHAMP­TON, New York — Rickie Fowler knows he can win ma­jor cham­pi­onships. He says ev­ery­one in golf knows that. So, Rickie, how about this week in the U.S. Open?

Ma­jors have not been kind to Fowler, who ei­ther gets teased or slammed by them. In April, he came up one shot short of Pa­trick Reed at the Masters. Fowler also was run­ner-up at both the U.S. and Bri­tish Opens in 2014. In all, he has eight top-five fin­ishes in Grand Slam events.

He also has missed cuts in seven ma­jors.

So, once again, he was asked Wed­nes­day: Rickie, how about this week?

“Yeah, def­i­nitely I’ve been very close,” Fowler said. “I feel like there’s a few you could look at and say, if it wasn’t for that one guy, we would have won. There was a cou­ple of ma­jors where there was a run­away or some­one just hap­pened to play just that lit­tle bit bet­ter. 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.

“You know what, at the same time, I kind of like to look at it as far as I’m good enough, and I ba­si­cally won a ma­jor: I won The Play­ers against, ar­guably, the best field we play all year on a golf course that is a very good test as well. No, we just got to hap­pen to get one done at the right time.”

Shin­necock Hills would be a good place for it to hap­pen. Fowler rates it as one of his favourite Amer­i­can cour­ses, one he’s played more of­ten than any head­ing into a ma­jor on that lay­out. He’s been on Long Is­land for more than a week, with prac­tice rounds at Shin­necock and sev­eral other highly rated cour­ses.

Fowler even played with Tom Brady on Tues­day at Friar’s Head.

“I’ll tell you what, Tom Brady can putt,” Fowler said. “If I can take that into this week, that’s one thing I can take from him that can help me.”

Fowler can do ev­ery­thing with a golf ball, and for the last year he has been con­sid­ered the best player not to win a ma­jor, ever since Ser­gio Gar­cia cap­tured the 2017 Masters. At 29, he should be in his prime com­pet­i­tive years, and he hardly lacks ex­pe­ri­ence: This will be his 10th U.S. Open, in­clud­ing ty­ing for 60th in his first as an am­a­teur in 2008. He turned pro the next year.

DAVID DERMER, AP

Amer­i­can Rickie Fowler was run­ner-up at The Masters in April.

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