Rickie Fowler is one of four players in the top 10 in the world rankings who have never won a major championship. Sergio Garcia was considered the best player to have never won a major but he is no longer in that category after winning the US Masters. Fowler has contended in majors in the past but this week’s US Open is the one in which he can finally get over the line.
You can get more tips for the US Open when you subscribe to WIN’s golf tipping service called Golf Rater. CLICK HERE! Since proofing began at the start of the year the service has delivered a Return On Investment of more than 60%. This week Golf Rater has recommended four each way selections for the US Open. Only one of that quartet has won a major championship in their career to date. This player has the skill and mentality to win the US Open again as he is a former champion.
Fowler has the game and temperament to win the second major of the season. The US Open is the most demanding mentally and physically. The courses are set up to test the ability and mental tenacity of the best players competing under the intense pressure of major championship golf. The weather in mid-June is often hot and humid and these conditions increase the degree of difficulty. The fairways are narrow and the rough can be penal so driving accuracy is a key skill. Missing the bunkers and finding the greens in the correct spot will take away the stress and lead to birdie chances.
This year the US Open is being played at Erin Hills. It is the 52nd course to host the championship but not typical. For a start the course has a par of 72 and most US Open courses have a par of 70. Erin Hills has a links type feel to it with fescue grass fairways and deep bunkers. These are features of a British seaside course so players proven in this type of golf should be considered. Henrik Stenson is the Open champion so proven on links golf courses but is not in great form. A US Open champion needs to have all aspects of his game in good order and Stenson is not at that level.
Rory McIlroy won the Open at Hoylake in 2014 but that course did not play like a typical links. There was plenty of cloud and rain about and the course played one-dimensionally. McIlroy drove long and straight which meant he had more eagle opportunities than most of the other players. His game is suited to Erin Hills but he again embarks on a major after an injury break and others are preferred. Jon Rahm looks too inexperienced to make a breakthrough in a major just now. He is a future major champion in waiting but this week may have come too soon.
Dustin Johnson is the defending champion and world number one. He won three tournaments in three starts earlier this season but his form has dipped. Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are major champions who can get into the mix. However, Day has lost form and Spieth’s putting ability might not always be good enough to get him out of trouble after a wayward drive off the tea. Lee Westwood may now be too old to win but he can deliver another solid effort and make the top 10. Sergio Garcia might still be on cloud nine and multiple majors in the same year have gone out of fashion.
Justin Thomas has the skill’s profile to make an impression so I wouldn’t put anyone off from backing him. Paul Casey has knocked on the door in majors in the past but might not have the skills to contend this week. Adam Scott is a former major champion with a decent links record so he is another name for the short list. Golf Rater highlights three players to back not mentioned but Fowler is the headline tip. He can be backed at 22/1 with bookmakers offering one quarter the odds for the top 6.
At the time of the majors there is often a debate about the best player to have never won a one. Fowler is still waiting for that elusive win in one of the tournaments that matters most. Hideki Matsuyama, Alex Noren and Rahm are top 10 players without a major to their name. We are in a run of non past major winners winning the big four events and last season all the major champions were first timers. Fowler can remove himself from the debate in the US Open this week. All the players still on the list want to take their name off it as soon as possible and there is a chance this week.
Fowler could be passing on the mantle of the best player not to have won one of the four biggest titles. He came in the top 5 in all four majors in 2014 without winning one. In any other year that achievement could have won him the Player of the Season title. Unfortunately for Fowler McIlroy won two major champions in that year to take the honour. Fowler won the Players Championship in 2015 and that event is just below major championship level. It’s known as the “fifth major” so has aspirations of being used for a major championship and the fields are good enough.
Fowler is a top 30 player for fairways and greens hit and is only an average driver by length. He can be flamboyant in his orange outfits but there is some substance behind the style and is now at a career high of number 10 in the standings. He has also won the Scottish Open in the past and that is a good event to master in the context of links golf. Fowler maintains his form when the wind blows. The selection is ready to take his career to a new level by winning the 2017 US Open.
Back next Thursday.