Just as he was going to bed in South Korea on Sunday night, Rickie Fowler returned a text.
"Big monkey off my back," said the winner of the OneAsia tour's Korea Open.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images.
How big a monkey? Well, it wasn't like winning on the PGA Tour, but a win is a win, as they say, and this was Fowler's first as a professional.
His only victory this year was in the Medalist GC Caddie tournament, where the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year partnered with Hadford Ramsay, which got his name on a plaque at the club's caddie shack. He didn't make the Presidents Cup team. He didn't qualify for the Tour Championship. He blew a chance to win the AT&T National with a final-round 74.
But he did hit the reset with a six-stroke victory over U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy with closing rounds of 63-68 at Woo Jeong Hills GC in Cheonan, South Korea.
After a good night's rest, Fowler was headed to the airport, but not to collect more appearance money in Asia. Instead, the 22-year-old was flying home to Jupiter, Fl., to repack for this week's McGladrey Classic at Sea Island GC in Georgia.
(Related: A frame-by-frame look at Fowler's swing)
The win was popular in the world of golf. Fowler's Twitter account included congratulations from PGA and LPGA Tour golfers as well as his coaches from Oklahoma State and some of the assistant pros, minitour players and high school golfers he plays with at Medalist.
As Fowler wrote on his first Tweet after the victory, "Now time to get my first on the @PGATOUR!!"*
-- Tim Rosaforte*