It seems that the next generation of standout golfers is making its way up the leader board and up the world rankings. Over the past few years, the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy have established themselves as legitimate contenders on the PGA tour.
Johnson, Day, and McIlroy all have at least one PGA tour win under their belt, McIlroy being the only one with a major victory. Each of these three have page one leaderboard experience in a major. I’m sure we all remember Dustin Johnson’s breakdown at Pebble Beach in 2010 and Rory McIlroy’s similar meltdown at Augusta earlier this year.
However, Johnson and McIlroy have bounced back nicely from their recent struggles. McIlroy had a historic win at Congressional in June, shooting a 72-hole score of 16-under par, a U.S. Open record. Johnson had a runner up finish at The Open Championship in July. Jason Day has also fared well in recent majors, finishing second at both the Masters and the U.S. Open.
So, where is Rickie Fowler?
The 22 year old has yet to win on the PGA Tour but is coming off of a top 5 finish at The Open Championship. When I had the opportunity to watch the Oklahoma State star play at the AT&T National earlier this summer, I liked what I saw. He has a quick, yet consistent pre-shot routine and a compact, yet powerful swing. He ranks in the top 25 in driving distance and has better putting statistics than that of Johnson, Day, and even McIlroy.
Rickie Fowler is the definition of a young gun. He has charisma, flashiness, power, and confidence. What he does not have at the moment, however, is accuracy. Nearly every other one of his drives misses the fairway, and this certainly hurts his chances to put up a low score.
Despite his wild tendencies, I believe that Rickie will make a serious run, both in the FedEx Cup and in the world rankings. He hits nearly 70% of his greens in regulation, despite his driving troubles, and when he makes the cut, he is a contender, shooting under par in every tournament this season. Fowler has less experience than Day, Johnson, and McIlroy, which means that he can be easily molded into a more accurate player.
Rickie tees off this weekend at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, and despite the hype of Tiger’s return, I would not be surprised to see him finish in the top 10.