Fowler knows Major victory is well within capabilities
Hogg will be captain in Houston
THE Players Championship may never achieve its ambition of becoming the fifth Major, but Rickie Fowler feels his 2015 victory at Sawgrass proves he will win one of the game’s four biggest titles.
Fowler has recorded multiple top-fives in all four Majors, the most recent being a runners-up finish behind Ryder Cup teammate Patrick Reed in the Masters in April.
And after extensive preparation ahead of the 118th US Open at Shinnecock Hills, the 29-year-old was in bullish mood about his prospects of avoiding the dreaded tag of “best player never to win a Major”.
“There are 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.
“At the same time, I like to look at it as that 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.
“We all know I’m good enough to win. I know I’m good enough to win. Being prepared and making it happen that specific week, there’s been a few guys that have been very good at that – Jack (Nicklaus), Tiger (Woods).
“Phil (Mickelson) didn’t get his first for a while, so there’s still hope. I’m not too worried about it. I’m excited about some of these courses that we have coming up, especially this week. But in the coming years, we have some great Major venues.
“Augusta is one of my favourites and I have had success there. It would be nice to throw on a (green) jacket at some point, but we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. I’m definitely not trying to put any extra pressure on.
“We’ll get it done, and once we get our first, it’s definitely not going to be the last.”
Fowler was among the early starters in today’s first round, the world No 7 teeing off at 8.13am local time (1.13pm BST) alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman.
Rory Mcilroy, meanwhile, would love to see Phil Mickelson complete the career grand slam at Shinnecock Hills, with one crucial caveat.
“If I wasn’t playing and just purely as a fan of golf, I’d love to see Phil win this week because it’s great for the game,” Mcilroy said.
Mcilroy, who needs to win the Masters to complete a full set of Major titles, will play alongside Mickelson and Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds. STUART Hogg (above) will captain Scotland for the first time when they take on the USA in Houston on Saturday.
Dark Blues head coach Gregor Townsend has named a revamped starting XV following last weekend’s 48-10 win over Canada – with seven players set to win their first caps.
Hogg’s Glasgow teammates Matt Fagerson and George Horne will make their international bows alongside their elder brothers, with back-row Fagerson joined by prop Zander and scrum-half Horne lining-up alongside inside centre Pete.
There will also be debuts for the Glasgow trio Jamie Bhatti, George Turner and Adam Hastings.
Rickie Fowler is seeking a first Major.