Rickie Fowler Confident Heading Into PGA Championship, Still Seeking First Major

Wednesday, July 27th 2016, 2:55 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Rickie Fowler's quest to win his first major continues this weekend, as the PGA Championship will tee off on Thursday morning at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. 

Related: Rickie Fowler Excited for Olympics, Seeking First Major at Royal Troon

Fowler, who is set to begin his first round at 6:40 a.m. CT, is considered the best player in the world to have not won a major. With his current world ranking of No. 7, only Fowler and Sergio Garcia are the only players in the top 10 who've yet to bring home the hardware when it matters most. 

“I think it’s a compliment,” to be in the conversation, Fowler told USA Today's Steve DiMeglio during a practice round on the Lower Course on Monday. “Obviously you’re not part of the elite who have won majors. I’ve been close, had chances. And it has been fun watching guys who have been close before win majors."

One of the most popular players on tour due to his vibrant style and friendly personality, Fowler knows the importance of finally winning a major, but the former OSU Cowboy admits it's not an easy task. 

“I love the feeling of majors,” Fowler told DiMeglio. “But it’s tough. There are only four a year. And if you’re game is not on, it’s hard to put yourself in position for a good finish. The majors pick your game apart a little bit more, a little bit more demanding, so you can’t fake it.”

Fowler finished in the top five of all four majors back in 2014, but has struggled to get back in the hunt since. Fowler failed to make the cut at both the Masters and the US Open to start 2016, while he finished tied for 46th at the British Open earlier this month. Despite his struggles, Fowler feels confident heading into this weekend. 

"I’m looking forward to this week. I got some good work in at home last week, I feel like the game’s in a good spot and trending the right direction, I’ve had a good round around this place, and I’m looking forward to having four this week," Fowler told Golf.

Fowler has the luxury of playing with Ernie Els and Zach Johnson on Thursday, and it'll be important that he paces himself with both of those guys as a good start will be crucial. Last time Baltusrol Golf Club hosted a major, Phil Mickelson shot four under to win the 2005 PGA Championship, but par for the Lower Course was only 70 compared to the 72 it is now. 

Fowler, who's only 27, appears to have a long career ahead of him, but if he wants to win a major in 2016, this weekend will be his last chance.