The Loop

Fowler has his work cut out for him at Nelson

May 19, 2010

IRVING, Texas -- Rickie Fowler was content just playing for a paycheck this week at the Byron Nelson Championship. That was until the moderator of Tuesday's press conference broke the news that Fowler needed a top-five finish at this week's event to qualify for next month's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Now Fowler's got something else to worry about this week. Until this week, Fowler (currently ranked 54th in the world rankings) claimed he had no idea he needed a top-five to move into the top 50 in the world golf rankings, thereby allowing him to bypass qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.

"I didn't know until he mentioned it, so now I know," Fowler said. "Now I know I need to finish top five, so I guess that's what we'll try and do."

Instead of grinding it out in tournaments each week and possibly getting an automatic spot in the U.S. Open, Fowler decided it was best to stick to his plan of taking time off when he needed it.

"I took last week off and there was that option of playing to try and score points and get in the [top 50 of the world golf rankings], but I stuck to my plan of what I wanted to do," he said. "I wanted to have a fresh week coming here."

Fowler's game plan of taking a week off between events has worked out well for him in the past. He finished second at Phoenix and eighth at Hilton Head after taking off the previous week.

-- Jonathan Wall