Rickie Fowler is having another disastrous opening round at a major
Rickie Fowler is generally regarded as one of the best players in the world yet to win a major (along with fellow long-driving American Dustin Johnson), and after he went on an incredible run of four top-5 finishes in majors in 2014, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Fowler would break through.
Since the 2015 Masters, however, Fowler's disappointing - and sometimes dreadful - opening rounds at majors have kept him from closing the gap on golf's big three.
Before a final rain delay suspended play for the rest of the day Thursday at Oakmont, Fowler carded five bogeys and a double-bogey through 12 holes, and just 11 players of the 78 who started play had posted worse scores. Although Oakmont is arguably the toughest course in the world, the soft conditions Thursday were as easy as they'll be all week, and Fowler is already nine shots behind leader Andrew Landry.
While it's too early to count out Fowler at Oakmont, his Thursday struggles are becoming an annoying habit.
Fowler shot an 81 in his opening round at Chambers Bay a year ago, and carded an 80 in his opening round at Augusta in 2016. Fowler missed the cut in both tournaments.
His opening round scores of 73, 72 and 73 at the 2015 Masters, British Open and PGA Championship, respectively, don't look bad on paper - but he was an average of 7.6 strokes behind the leader after 18 holes in those tournaments. Even when Fowler isn't blowing up, he's falling behind.
Fortunately for Rickie, it seems unlikely for the leaders to go much lower than a few under par at Oakmont. There were only seven players in red figures when play was suspended, and the forecast indicates that the course should dry out and become quicker (and even more difficult) over the weekend. If Fowler can post a few birdies Friday morning, he's right back in the tournament - but that's a big if.