Rickie Fowler is relishing the chance to ‘put a little pressure’ on Rory McIlroy when the duo tee off together in the final group of tomorrow’s fourth round of the 2014 Open Championship .
Fowler, 25, trails his playing partner by six shots but insists that the destiny of the Claret Jug is far from decided.
“If I’m able to go out and get off to a good start, maybe I can put a little bit of pressure on him, because he’s definitely in control of the golf tournament just now,” said the American, who carded a four-under-par 68 playing alongside Sergio Garcia in the third round.
After opening with back-to-back birdies, Fowler closed the gap on McIlroy and, at one point, even shared the lead with the Northern Irishman. However, four sloppy bogeys, three of which came in his last five holes, undid much of the good work he had done in carding eight excellent birdies.
The 2010 Ryder Cup player acknowledged afterwards that he could have been in a much better position than he currently is.
“I’m definitely satisfied with where I’m at but bad swings happen and it’s just unfortunate that I kind of strung a few of those together and it cost me a couple of shots coming in,” said Fowler. “But I feel I’ve given myself room for improvement every day. I’ve kind of gone out and taken advantage of that and improved little by little.
"We’re good buddies and, at the same time, we both want to beat each other up as bad as possible." - Rickie Fowler
“I’ve been swinging great and it’s my second final group in a major coming off the US Open, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.”
Fowler first shot to prominence as a member of the talented US Walker Cup side that defeated a Rory McIlroy and his Great Britain & Ireland teammates at Royal County Down in 2007. At the time, big things were expected from both, which is why many are not especially surprised to see them going toe to toe with one another in the final round of a major. For his part, Fowler is excited by the prospect.
“It’s going to be a good time,” he said. “We’re good buddies and, at the same time, we both want to beat each other up as bad as possible. We’ll have fun throwing shots back and forth. It will be fun to see if I can maybe make him earn it a bit.
“Back in 2007, he was definitely one of the young stars over here and I was one of the young stars from the US. It was just a matter of time before the two of us found a way to sneak into a final group together.”
Rickie Fowler :: Birdie Man
Rickie Fowler currently leads the Open in terms of birdie chances converted. The American has drilled home 18 in 54 holes. That’s one more than Matteo Manassero and Charl Schwartzel, and two more than that man McIlroy.