Players 2022: Rickie Fowler fails to get into the field at TPC Sawgrass for first time since 2009
Kevin C. Cox
It was always going to be a long shot for Rickie Fowler. The popular PGA Tour pro came into the Arnold Palmer Championship essentially needing a win in order to play his way into next week’s Players Championship, site of the biggest win of his career in 2015. And while Fowler managed to make the cut at Bay Hill, a four-over 76 on Saturday eliminated any real chance he had of victory. He followed that up with a Sunday 77, dropping him into a tie for 55th.
With that, the 33-year-old found himself officially on the outside looking in at TPC Sawgrass for the first time since 2009. Fowler was listed as the seventh alternate when the field was updated on Sunday night after Bryson DeChambeau's withdrawl and the addition of Puerto Rico Open winner Ryan Brehm.
“It’ll suck,” Fowler told GolfChannel.com when asked not being in Ponte Vedra Beach for the tournament. “It’s one you don’t want to miss. It’s obviously a special one given that I’ve won it before. Play better and things fall into place.”
Fowler’s career record at TPC Sawgrass has been mixed. In addition to the victory there in 2015 (which brought with it a five-year exemption into the championship), Fowler finished tied for second in 2012. But in 11 career starts, he also missed the cut six times.
Fowler is now more than three years removed from his last of his five career PGA Tour wins (2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open) and has fallen all the way to 122nd in the World Ranking ahead of Bay Hill. He failed to qualify for the Masters and U.S. Open in 2021, and he has yet to secure a spot into next month’s Masters. The only major he has qualified for so far in 2022 is the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May.
Fowler, holding the winner's trophy, after his 2015 victory at TPC Sawgrass.
Photo by Chris Condon/PGA Tour/Getty Images
As recently as last fall, Fowler felt like he’d made progress with his game while working with John Tillery, finishing tied for third at the CJ Cup. Shortly after, Fowler and his wife Allison Stokke became parents, their daughter Maya born on Thanksgiving.
But in 2022, Fowler missed the cut in his first three starts after coming back to play in late January, and his best finish has been a T-42 at the Honda Classic.
“Playing poor golf is a big bummer, it sucks. Everyone goes through tough or low points in this game,” Fowler told GolfChannel.com. “Just try to ride it out and keep pushing forward.”