News & ToursAugust 11, 2015

Why 2015 has been a breakout year for Rickie Fowler. And also a disappointment.

HAVEN, Wisconsin -- At times this season, Rickie Fowler has been been as luminous as his Sunday Oklahoma State-themed ensembles. At others, his game resembles an eyesore akin to...well, those same orange outfits.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Fowler was as good as one could be without winning in 2014. He finished in the top five in all four majors, highlighted by runner-up showings in the U.S. and British Opens. Expectations were high for 2015, perhaps too high for a player that had just one career victory (at least according to his fellow competitors).

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The 26-year-old answered this derision with a triumph at the Players Championship, often cited as the toughest field on tour. Fowler's prosperity was not limited to Sawgrass, finishing third at the WGC-HSBC Champions, second in Tiger Woods' Quicken Loans National and a top-10 standing at Firestone Country Club last week. Fowler also added the Scottish Open trophy to his mantle.

And yet, to call Fowler's 2015 a success feels . . . off.

After his remarkable run in last year's majors, Fowler has been a non-factor this go-around. He finished 12 shots back at Augusta, missed the cut at Chambers Bay and tied for 30th at St. Andrews. At Memorial, one of the tour's top non-major events, he didn't make the weekend.

Fowler himself sees no added pressure to perform in the last major of the season.

"There would probably be more if I hadn't won this year," Fowler said at his Tuesday PGA Championship press conference. "I came into the year just focusing on getting a win, wherever it might be. And to be sitting here with two wins so far, it's definitely been a successful year."

Nevertheless, Fowler knows that players in his echelon are judged by one yardstick.

"Ultimately, it would be nice to have a major championship on the resume," Fowler said. "This would be a great week to start that, but I don't want to -- I definitely don't want to push myself or try and make things happen too much."

Fowler's still young, and has time to fix that goose egg. However, given his recent hot streak, Whistling Straits could be his Promised Land.

And there'd be no doubting the beauty of that.

Follow @JoelMBeall


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