Walking to the eighteenth green, Rickie Fowler knew he was going to win the 2017 Honda Classic, yet he was unable to silence his critics. Fowler, and superstar in the PGA and possibly a favorite role model to many young golfers, Fowler’s fame has not been from PGA tour wins.
In 179 career events, Fowler only has four wins under his belt. While many professional golfers would be thrilled to win just one tournament, players who has reached Fowler’s level of fame usually have more than four wins.
Before he teed off on his final hole of the Honda Classic, Fowler had a five stoke lead. It would take a complete catastrophe of a final hole for Fowler to blow his lead.
With the pressure off, Fowler played the hole with no concerns and remained calm when his approach shot landed in a green side bunker. He would end up bogeying the hole and won with a score of 12-under par, four shots ahead of second place.
Despite the win, Fowler did not play the quality of golf one would expect from a tournament winner.
His play, especially during the final round, was shaky at best and his shot making ability was lacking at times. Through all of his inconsistent play, Fowler’s putter is what allowed him to keep the lead and not relinquish it.
His putting within seven feet was perfect. Fowler made all of his 57 putts within seven feet and even added a few birdies putts longer than 25 feet.
These putts allowed Fowler to hold off second place finisher, Gary Woodland, who came within one stroke of tying Fowler, during the final round.
Due to his clutch putting, and Woodland staying a 8-under par, Fowler was able to distance himself from the field and give himself a comfortable lead.
Not only was this win a fourth feather in Fowler’s cap, but it also showed that he is able to move on from his struggles in previous tournaments.
Before the Honda Classic, Fowler held a 54-hole lead four times in his career, and ended up losing all of them. His ability to take a lead was never in question but his tendency to blow them is what makes his critics skeptical of future success.
He has already shown his maturity when he cut his famous locks in favor of a shorter look. This maturity has allowed Fowler to evolve into an actual tournament contender and is no longer look at as a child of the game. While the young and newer fans of golf look to Fowler as an example to follow, some older fans of the game haven’t come around yet in terms of their opinion of him. If Fowler is able to take the momentum he gained from the Honda Classic win and contend in the Majors, it is possible we see more Fowler supporters. With the Majors being a few months away, Fowler must turn his attention to sharpening his skills in the upcoming tournaments.
For now, Fowler’s win seemed to help his reputation but how he’ll be able to take what he learned from this win is what will determine how successful he can actually be in the PGA.