Rick Yutaka Fowler (born December 13, 1988) is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He was the number one ranked amateur golfer in the world for 37 weeks in 2007 and 2008. On January 24, 2016 he reached a career high fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking following his victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Born and raised in Murrieta, California, Fowler attended Murrieta Valley High School. For years, he played only on a driving range and is almost entirely self-taught. In his senior year in high school, Fowler won the SW League Final with a total score of 64-69=133, and led his team to the state final in 2007.
After high school he attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He posted his first collegiate victory at the Fighting Illini Invitational hosted by the University of Illinois on October 1, 2007, by shooting a 203 (70-63-70) to win the tournament by one stroke.
Fowler represented the United States in its victory at the 2007 Walker Cup. His record was 2–0 in foursomes and 1–1 in singles making his overall record 3–1. Billy Horschel was his partner for both of their foursome victories. That year Fowler won the Sunnehanna Amateur in June and the Players Amateur in July.
In 2008, Fowler repeated as Sunnehanna Amateur champion. In the first round of the U.S. Open, Fowler shot a −1 (70) and was in a tie for 7th place. He was one of three amateurs to make the cut, along with Derek Fathauer and Michael Thompson. He ended the tournament tied for 60th. In October 2008 Fowler played on the Eisenhower Trophy team that finished second. He was the leading individual player.
In 2009, Fowler made his second and last appearance in the Walker Cup. He won all four matches in which he played as the U.S. won by a seven-point margin. His partner in both foursomes matches was Bud Cauley. He also finished third in the Sunnehanna Amateur in 2009.
Fowler was given the 2008 Ben Hogan Award.
Fowler's first PGA Tour event as a professional was the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open where he finished tied for seventh. His second PGA Tour event was at the Frys.com Open played at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. He finished tied for second after losing to Troy Matteson in a three-way playoff that included Jamie Lovemark. Fowler's score of 18-under-par included a hole-in-one on the fifth hole in his final round. Fowler also notched an eagle in each of his four rounds.
In February 2010, Fowler finished second at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a score of 15-under-par at the TPC of Scottsdale course. In June, Fowler notched his third PGA Tour runner-up finish at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. Fowler entered the final round in the lead, but shot a 73 to finish behind Justin Rose, who recorded his first PGA Tour victory. This performance took Fowler into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
In September, he signed a clothing deal with Puma. In the same month, he was also chosen as a captain's pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. At age 21 years and 9 months when the matches began, Fowler became the youngest U.S. Ryder Cup player of all time, and only European Sergio García was younger when he made his Ryder Cup debut in 1999. Fowler forfeited a hole during foursomes competition on the first match day because of a rules violation, by taking a permissible free drop from muddy conditions in an improper location, a mistake U.S. captain Corey Pavin attributed to Fowler's inexperience. On the final day of the competition in his singles match against Edoardo Molinari, Fowler birdied the last 4 holes to halve the match after having been 4 down after 12 holes.
In July 2011, Fowler tied the 54-hole lead at the AT&T National, but an early double bogey on Sunday derailed his opportunity for his first PGA Tour win. Two weeks later Fowler recorded his most successful result to date in a major tournament by finishing tied for 5th in The Open Championship at Royal St George's. In August, Fowler finished in a tie for second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational behind winner Adam Scott, lifting him to 28 in the world rankings.
At the PGA Championship, Fowler carded 74-69-75-68 to finish with a six-over par total of 286, in a tie for 51st place. Early on the third day Fowler rocketed up the leaderboard with three birdies in the first five holes only to falter later in the round with two triple bogeys, effectively ending his hopes of a first major championship and PGA Tour win.
At the first FedEx Cup playoff event, Fowler finished T52 at The Barclays in the last week in August. The following week he again finished T52 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second FedEx Cup playoff event, after carding a disappointing six over par final round 77. At that point Fowler was positioned 37 in the FedEx Cup points standings and required a strong performance at the BMW Championship to qualify in the top thirty for The Tour Championship; a performance which eluded him, finishing in 48th place. In finishing 43rd in the FedEx Cup, Fowler earned a $132,000 bonus.
In May 2012, Fowler won the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte on the first extra hole of a sudden-death playoff. Replaying the 18th hole, he defeated Rory McIlroy and D. A. Points with a birdie to gain his first PGA Tour win. Fowler shot a 69 (−3) in the final round to finish in a three-way tie after 72 holes at Quail Hollow Club. This win enabled Fowler to break the top-25 in the world, placing him at number 24. The following week at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Fowler played the final hole at −11 under par and had a birdie opportunity to bring him within one of leader and eventual winner Matt Kuchar. Fowler, however, pushed his putt to the right and finished in a tie for second, his fifth second-place finish of his career.
After a tie for fifth at the Masters in April, Fowler had his best finish of 2014 at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Fowler was runner-up with Erik Compton at −1, best finishes for both at a major, but they were eight stroke behind champion Martin Kaymer. Fowler had another second-place finish at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. He began the final round six strokes behind Rory McIlroy and finished the day tied for second with Sergio García at −15, two strokes behind McIlroy. At the next major in August, the PGA Championship, Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, and McIlroy battled for the title on a rain-soaked Valhalla Golf Club, near Louisville. Despite holding the lead for a good portion of the day, Fowler tied for third. He was only the third player, along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, to have finished in the top 5 in all four majors in one calendar year, but the first not to win (Jordan Spieth became the fourth player in 2015). Fowler had 10 top-10 finishes during the 2013–14 season. His 8th-place finish at The Tour Championship moved him to 10th in the world golf rankings.
After a T-12 finish at the Masters, Fowler earned his first win in over three years with a playoff victory at The Players Championship in May. Trailing Sergio García midway through the final round by five shots, Fowler played the final six holes in 6-under par, including an eagle at the par-5 16th. After a birdie at the famous 17th hole, Fowler's final birdie of the round on 18 left him at 12-under par. Both García and Kevin Kisner had birdie attempts to win at the 18th in regulation, but both missed and the three men went to a three-hole aggregate playoff to decide a winner on holes 16–18. Fowler and Kisner went par-birdie-par to tie at −1 while García's three pars left him at even and he was eliminated. Thus Fowler and Kisner went to sudden death starting at the 17th, where Kisner's tee shot landed within about 12 feet (3.7 m) of the cup. Fowler answered with a shot inside of five feet, and when Kisner's birdie attempt slid by, Fowler responded by making his short birdie to claim the championship. Fowler played his final 10 holes in 8-under par. On July 12, he won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on the European Tour, shooting a 12-under-par 268. On September 7, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second FedEx Cup Playoffs event, by one stroke over Henrik Stenson, for his third victory on the PGA Tour.
After finishing fifth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, Fowler claimed his first victory of 2016 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on the European Tour. He shot a final round of 69 to finish one clear of Belgium's Thomas Pieters. Two weeks later, Fowler was in contention to win again but lost out to Japan's Hideki Matsuyama in a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. On March 7, Fowler sparked fantastic scenes after sinking a hole-in-one with fellow tour pro Luke Donald's pitching wedge to win $1 million for Ernie Els' charity, Els for Autism.
In June, Fowler announced that he wouldn't be defending his Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart, citing the crowded schedule due to golf's return to the Olympic Games as the main reason. At the 2016 Olympics, he came in 37th place.
At the first FedEx Cup playoff event of the season, The Barclays, Fowler went into the final round leading the event by one stroke. He endured a difficult final round, shooting a two-over-par 74. His challenge was ended with a double-bogey at the 16th hole that put him four strokes behind playing partner Patrick Reed. He went on to finish T7, three stroke behind the winner Reed. As a result of this, Fowler also failed to secure his automatic Ryder Cup spot, which he would have done with a top-three finish. Fowler moved up from 28th to 16th in the FedEx Cup standings with this result.
On February 26, Fowler won The Honda Classic for his fourth PGA Tour win. For the first time in his career, Fowler preserved his 54-hole lead to win. The title saw Fowler move back up in to the top 10 of the world rankings.
On June 16, Fowler carded a round of 65 at Erin Hills to take the first round lead at the 2017 U.S. Open. Fowler equalled the lowest first round score at the U.S. Open and led by one stroke from Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele. He followed this up with a one over par 73 in the second round to fall out of the lead by one stroke, held by four other players. He shot 68-72 over the weekend to finish in a tie for fifth place. This gave Fowler his sixth top-5 finish in a major, but he is still yet to win.
Fowler resides in Jupiter, Florida, relocating from Las Vegas following the 2010 season. Fowler's middle name, Yutaka, comes from his maternal grandfather, who is Japanese. His maternal grandmother is Navajo Native American. On the final day of a golf tournament Fowler wears orange in honor of Oklahoma State University.
Fowler is one of four golfers in the "Golf Boys" group along with fellow PGA Tour players Ben Crane, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan. The Golf Boys released a YouTube video of the song "Oh Oh Oh" on the eve of the 2011 U.S. Open. Farmers Insurance is donating $1,000 for every 100,000 views of the video. The charitable proceeds will support both Farmers and Ben Crane charitable initiatives.
In 2012, Fowler filmed a commercial for Crowne Plaza Hotels entitled "It's Good to be Rickie" with golf commentator Ian Baker Finch. He was featured in an ESPN "This is SportsCenter" commercial with sportscaster John Anderson in 2013. On November 28, 2015, Fowler was the guest picker on ESPN's College GameDay (his picks went 7–4).
Fowler attends weekly Bible studies on tour.
In 2015, Fowler was announced as an official ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf, a program owned and operated by the PGA of America.
Fowler has three tattoos. One is a block "G" near his left elbow in honor of Georgia Veach, the daughter of a Seattle pastor and friend. Georgia was diagnosed with lissencephaly. Fowler got the tattoo just before the 2015 Presidents Cup. The second is from January 2016 and contains the name Yutaka Tanaka (Rickie's grandfather) in Japanese script on his left biceps. The third tattoo came just weeks after playing at the 2016 Summer Olympics and is of the Olympic symbols.
|Players Championships (1)|
|FedEx Cup playoff event (1)|
|Other PGA Tour (2)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin of
|1||May 6, 2012||Wells Fargo Championship||66-72-67-69=274||−14||Playoff||Rory McIlroy, D. A. Points|
|2||May 10, 2015||The Players Championship||69-69-71-67=276||−12||Playoff||Sergio García, Kevin Kisner|
|3||Sep 7, 2015||Deutsche Bank Championship||67-67-67-68=269||−15||1 stroke||Henrik Stenson|
|4||Feb 26, 2017||The Honda Classic||66-66-65-71=268||−12||4 strokes||Morgan Hoffmann, Gary Woodland|
PGA Tour playoff record (2–2)
|1||2009||Frys.com Open||Troy Matteson, Jamie Lovemark||Matteson won with birdie on second extra hole|
|2||2012||Wells Fargo Championship||Rory McIlroy, D. A. Points||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|3||2015||The Players Championship||Sergio García, Kevin Kisner||Won with birdie on first extra hole after three-hole aggregate playoff
(Fowler: 11, Kisner: 11, García: 12)
|4||2016||Waste Management Phoenix Open||Hideki Matsuyama||Lost to par on fourth extra hole|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin of
|1||Jul 12, 2015||Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open||66-68-66-68=268||−12||1 stroke||Raphaël Jacquelin, Matt Kuchar|
|2||Jan 24, 2016||Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship||70-68-65-69=272||−16||1 stroke||Thomas Pieters|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin of
|1||Oct 9, 2011||Kolon Korea Open||67-70-63-68=268||−16||6 strokes||Rory McIlroy|
|The Open Championship||T14||T5||T31||CUT||T2||T30||T46||T22|
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
|The Open Championship||0||1||0||2||2||4||8||7|
Results not in chronological order prior to 2015.
DNP = Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.
*As of August 6, 2017.
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