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Tough Days At The Office

Rickie Fowler's wild round includes tough penalty, eagle hole-out, and (impressive) left-handed swing

February 10, 2022

TPC Scottsdale has been good to Rickie Fowler, yielding the most recent of his five career PGA Tour titles in 2019. But on Thursday, the desert track treated him like an unwanted stranger. Perhaps, because, well, he couldn't keep out of the desert.

Rickie's rough front nine to begin the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open had a bit of everything. A bit of everything bad, that is. There was a penalty, a left-handed swing, and some missed short putts, which all added up to a three-over 38 as he put himself well behind the early pace.

Let's start with the penalty, which came on the par-4 fifth hole when Fowler tried to clear some rocks near a cactus and accidentally moved his ball. Fowler called a rules official over and was assessed a one-shot penalty.

That is a tough one. From there, he actually made a great bogey, but there would be more trouble up ahead. After another wayward drive into the cacti on No. 8, Fowler was forced to hit his second shot lefty. And he actually hit a pretty sweet shot:

A bit too sweet, though, as his ball ran through the fairway. He'd make another bogey there. Now it wasn't all bad. Here's his beautiful tee shot on the par-3 fourth that set up his lone birdie on the front:

OK, so the righty swing is still better. But that lefty swing. . . pretty darn impressive. Not that Fowler wants to show it off anymore this week.

UPDATE: But Rickie rallied on the back nine! Still at three over with two holes to play, Fowler did this on the short par-4 17th:

What a spectacular eagle! And that came minutes after he rattled a bunker shot off the flagstick on No. 16. Fowler added another birdie on 18 to right where he started the round, at even par. Quite a day.