DETROIT (AP) — Rickie Fowler grinned, sighed deeply, and leaned back in his chair.
After letting so many close victories slip away, he finally secured one.
Two weeks after blowing a chance at the U.S. Open, Fowler sank a birdie putt from 12 feet on the opening playoff hole of the Rocket Mortgage Classic and defeated Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin on Sunday.
“It’s just nice to have this one out of the way,” Fowler remarked after finally achieving victory after four years. I plan to enjoy this victory and revel in some light rejoicing.
In other words, “Yeah, it’s just been a long road.”
After missing out on two opportunities to win in June (finishing with a 75 at the U.S. Open to tie for fifth and shooting a 69 last week at the Travelers title to slip into a tie for 13th), Fowler finally won a tournament after a career-long, 96-start title drought.
A wave of orange followed Fowler around all day at Detroit Golf Club, but Morikawa’s near record-tying score was enough to knock him off the list. After a 145-foot approach left him with a 3-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, he rallied by tying Morikawa and Hadwin at 24 under.
Fowler’s approach from 184 yards in the playoff was 12 feet from the hole after he blasted a tee shot that went well right and had to be dropped. Morikawa’s approach was a few inches too long, and instead of spinning back to the hole, the ball rolled off the rough and out of play.
It seemed to me at the time that I had made a beautiful swing,” Morikawa declared. I didn’t have the putter in my hand, and it was a touch juiced and went a little far. Even if the chip could have been made, you really should have had the putter handy.
Fowler was able to seal the deal before a round of thunderstorms roared into Detroit after Hadwin missed a 22-foot putt and Morikawa whiffed on a chip.
This is the ninth time this season that Fowler has finished in the top 10 in his division. “I knew it was just a matter of time with how I’ve been playing,” he said. Unfortunately, “I’ve had a couple tough weekends where I had a chance.”
Morikawa was thrilled for Fowler despite his own disappointment at losing the tournament he had been targeting since his 2021 British Open triumph.
“He’s been playing phenomenal golf, it’s great to see,” he said. People really like him.
With his 8-under round, Morikawa was only one stroke off the course record. 67 was shot by Hadwin, and 68 by Fowler.
Fowler was at least a co-leader after three rounds in one tournament in each of the previous two years, and he was tied for the lead after 54 holes last month at Los Angeles Country Club with a chance to win his first major.
Before his victory in Detroit, he had been the third-round leader or co-leader ten times but had only won twice.
The 34-year-old Fowler did everything in his power to win his sixth PGA Tour event and first since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
People clustered around the 18th green chanting “Rick-ie! Rick-ie!” in the hopes that Fowler, a longstanding spokesman for Rocket Mortgage, would win.
Morikawa scored four birdies on both the front and back nines, while Fowler struggled and settled for pars on a reasonably easy course over a stretch of ten holes. Morikawa birdied No. 12 from 10 feet, his fourth in a stretch of six holes that brought him within a stroke of Fowler, and he birdied No. 14 from 9 feet to equal Fowler at 23 under.
Fourth place at 21 under was shared by Monday qualifiers Peter Kuest (65), Lucas Glover (65), and Taylor Moore (67). Despite beginning the week in 789th place, Kuest played well enough to qualify for the John Deere Classic in Illinois.
Lightning delayed play on Saturday for 1 hour and 42 minutes, and the final round had to be rescheduled because of predicted rain. On Sunday morning, some five hours ahead of schedule, the top runners teed off in threesomes from both the front and back nine holes.
Q1. How much is Rickey Fowler worth?
Rickie Fowler is paid $20 million annually.
His $43.26 million fortune comes from winning golf tournaments, sponsorships, investments, and career earnings, placing him at number 21 on the all-time list of professional golfers with the highest fortunes.