• "It's gonna hurt because I felt like I had it," said Fowler
• Who'll win a major first? Fowler or Matsuyama?
An emotional Rickie Fowler admitted defeat to Hideki Matsuyama in four-hole play-off at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was hard to swallow as he ‘felt like he had it’.
The 27-year-old dunked his ball in the water on the 17th in regulation and again when play returned there for the fourth play-off hole, handing victory Japanese star Matsuyama who clinched his second PGA Tour win and lifted him up to No.12 in the world rankings.
“It's gonna hurt because I felt like I had it, especially with the way I was swinging,” said Fowler. “I mean, the hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven't seen me win. But I will be able to kinda hang with them tonight.
“I'll be all right,” Fowler added. “With how good I'm playing, I know I can win. That's the hard part.”
How Matsuyama won it
After matching each other for three holes going par-birdie-par on the 18th, 18th and tenth holes respectively, Fowler tee’d it up on the 17th only for this to happen.
And Matsuyama seized the advantage, holing this putt to clinch the tournament in front of a fanbase which he admitted was ‘99% behind’ his opponent.
What they said
Hideki Matsuyama: Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it. It feels really good. They were for Rickie, weren't they? And I'd say probably 99% of the gallery were cheering hard for him. But that gave me the motivation to go out and do it and win.
“Winning my second tournament on the PGA Tour was my utmost goal for this year, so now I'm going to go home tonight and rethink the next goal.”
Phil Mickelson (T11): “I hit a lot of good shots. I didn't shoot the number this week probably that I felt I could or should, but I feel like my game is right where I want it. I will continue working on it.
“I'm excited to go next week to AT&T and Pebble and play up there where I have had success. I'm having more fun right now playing than I have had in years because I have control of the golf ball. I feel like the game is starting to feel easy again.”
Danny Lee (Overnight leader): “I'm a strong momentum player, but I just started off not my best and then it was hard for me to come back from it. I’m always nervous, but it wasn't anything like different pressure or anything like that. I just got off from the rough start.”
Ball-striking. Major— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 8, 2016
Matsuyama's ranks this week ...
Strokes gained: tee-to-green: 1st
Greens in regulation: 1st pic.twitter.com/vArgXxAOaM
Congrats to my good buddy Hideki on his victory. Great golf he played. Well deserved. He loves this event! T4, T2, W. Last 3 starts!— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) February 8, 2016
And that'll do it: Hideki Matsuyama wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open on fourth playoff hole. Wonder if there's anything else on TV...— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) February 8, 2016
1 Hideki Matsuyama (65, 70, 68, 67) -14
2 Rickie Fowler (65, 68, 70, 67) -14
3 Harris English (68, 67, 71, 66) -12
4 Danny Lee (67, 66, 67, 73) -11
5 Boo Weekley (71, 68, 65, 70) -10
Rickie Fowler v Hideki Matsuyama :: Who’ll win a major first?
Two supremely talented young players, but who will taste major glory first? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.