• "I'm going to celebrate this one first," he said after Abu Dhabi win
• Rory McIlroy has already said he won't be at Castle Stuart
Rickie Fowler has yet to make a decision on whether he will defend his Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart in July after scooping his fourth win in nine months at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
With a packed schedule this summer due to golf’s return to the Olympic Games, Rory McIlroy has said categorically that he won’t be there, while Fowler was a little more reserved when it came to the question.
"The summer is going to be a bit tough" - Rickie Fowler
“I’m going to celebrate this one first,” he said after his one-shot win over Thomas Pieters. “The summer is going to be a bit tough. But like we said, I'm going to celebrate this and really focus on getting ready for Augusta and go from there.”
The 27-year-old burst clear from a crowded leaderboard on the resumption of round three on Sunday morning to sit two shots clear before holding his nerve in the final round with a delightful chip in on the 17th to ensure the win.
How Fowler did it
After McIlroy had just finished birdie-eagle to join Henrik Stenson on 14-under-par, Fowler, who was on 15-under-par just off the 17th green, chipped in to ease the pressure after seven birdies in a row on the back nine.
But the American had put himself in such a commanding position after a stunning back nine on Sunday morning, notching five birdies as he roared in in 31. Following up his double-bogey on the par-3 seventh with an eagle on the eighth certainly helped, too.
What they said
Rickie Fowler: “It's a great way to start. Nice to have the game where it's at right now going into the season, instead of trying to work on things and trying to find stuff. Right now, I can go and fine tune and really build ultimately for Augusta. I'd say this is really the first time in my career I feel this good about my game and know where it's at.”
Jordan Spieth: “We were off this week. I didn't make anything. I didn't get in a rhythm, and when I did have chances, they just wouldn't go. Just a little off on the read or the speed, one of the two. Sometimes that happens during a week, and we kind of grinded out eight-under on the weekend in what really could have been something special but it also could have been worse.”
Rory McIlroy: “I gave myself a lot of work to do going into the last 18 holes and I just didn't quite have it today. Sixty-eight I think is the best I could’ve done out there with the places I hit it. I don't think I hit a shot off the fairway until the ninth hole this afternoon, so if you're putting yourself out of position like that, it's very hard to score.”
Fewest bogeys, that’s one way to help you win a golf tournament and lift you up to No.4 in the world rankings!
Congrats @RickieFowler ! High tops won on the course but I got the highest selfie from Falcon office in clubhouse..H pic.twitter.com/N3Nr5eIxqH
— Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) January 25, 2016
Big congrats to my good buddy @RickieFowler yesterday. Great to be a part of this generation traveling the world and playing great golf!
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) January 25, 2016
Congrats @RickieFowler...well done bro!
— Zach Johnson (@ZachJohnsonPGA) January 24, 2016
1 Rickie Fowler (70, 68, 65, 69) -16
2 Thomas Pieters (69, 73, 64, 67) -15
T3 Rory McIlroy (66, 70, 70, 68) -14
T3 Henrik Stenson (65, 72, 70, 67) -14
T5 Byeong-Hun An (69, 68, 69, 71) -11
T5 Alejandro Canizares (71, 71, 66, 69) -11
T5 Branden Grace (66, 74, 66, 71) -11
T5 Joost Luiten (69, 68, 68, 72) -11
T5 Marcel Siem (72, 68, 70, 67) -11
T5 Jordan Spieth (68, 73, 68, 68) -11
Rickie Fowler :: A major in 2016?
After starting the year so well, can Rickie Fowler add a major in 2016 and join Spieth, Day and Rory as the 'big four'? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.