Ryder Cup 2023: Rickie Fowler playing his way onto the U.S. team following win at Rocket Mortgage Classic

While the primary reward for winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday is winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic, there was a secondary focus for Rickie Fowler after a run of terrific play so far in 2023: Finding his way onto the 2023 United States Ryder Cup team when the biennial event is played in Rome later this September.

Fowler’s play has certainly been good enough to warrant a look. He played well at the majors, finished in the top 10 in three of his last four events and rose to No. 35 in the Official World Golf Rankings (and — perhaps more importantly — No. 10 in the Data Golf rankings). His golf over the last three months has been better statistically than every American except for Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.

Still, Fowler remained on the outside looking in when it came to the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. At 16th, he was well back of the top six standing needed to qualify automatically and uncomfortably far back from the top 12, which is normally pretty close to the list of final players chosen when captain Zach Johnson wields his six captains picks for Rome.

All of that changed with a win at Detroit Golf Club. Fowler will continue marching up the OWGR and Data Golf rankings, entering the top 25 in the former and likely the top eight in the latter. And with $1.6M earned with the victory, Fowler will almost certainly vault into the top 12 in the Ryder Cup standings on Monday (the Ryder Cup uses money earned for its rankings).

Most importantly, he secured a validating win to go with all the numbers. And he did so in the most clutch way possible by making birdie at the last two holes he played, one to tie it up and one to seal his first win since February 2019. 

I don’t make the rules and I don’t make the picks, but it would now be absolutely shocking if Fowler is not on the Ryder Cup team in September. Let’s take a look at the top 15 now with estimated Ryder Cup points based on the Rocket Mortgage results:


Scottie Scheffler



Wyndham Clark



Brooks Koepka



Xander Schauffele



Patrick Cantlay



Max Homa



Keegan Bradley



Jordan Spieth



Collin Morikawa



Cam Young



Sam Burns



Rickie Fowler



Justin Thomas



Denny McCarthy



Kurt Kitayama


“One of the end goals was to be a part of the Ryder Cup team, and that’s still what we’re focusing on right now,” said Fowler. “Been a part of a handful and … they’re very special weeks, so that’s where I have kind of my eyes. But planning to continue to play well and looking forward to a couple weeks over the pond with the Scottish and the British coming up, especially with how I’ve been playing and how I am playing.”

It’s set up perfectly for Fowler. This year’s Open is at Royal Liverpool, where he finished T2 in 2014 behind Rory McIlroy, who is also playing tremendous golf and will also be at the Ryder Cup in September, albeit on the other team. It would be a bit stunning at this point if Fowler did not play his way into the top eight or higher on the U.S. side. The only question come captain’s selection time will be who to pair Fowler with in Rome. He has played on four teams, three of them losing squads. 

As for who else will be on that squad, Scheffler’s position is completely unassailable. He’s in, and so is Clark. Koepka is more interesting in the third position because of his standing with LIV, but given that the PGA runs the Ryder Cup and has no affiliation with the PGA Tour-LIV kerfuffle or pending deal, I imagine Johnson will select a 2023 major winner to be on his team. Schauffele and Cantlay are almost certainly in, but then it gets interesting. 

Homa and Bradley are trending in different directions, Spieth is clinging to a potential automatic bid with his best major — The Open — on deck. Morikawa looked awesome this week in Detroit, J.T. not so much. Cameron Young and Sam Burns have just one top 10 each since the Match Play, which Burns won. And McCarthy and Kitayama are unproven and not expected to be on the team. We haven’t even gotten to Harris English, Tony Finau or Sahith Theegala, all of whom are just outside the top 12 and could either play their way on the team or close enough to warrant a pick.

With fringe Ryder Cuppers (like Bradley and McCarthy) playing terrific golf and presumed locks (like Thomas and Finau) not playing well, there could be some extremely difficult decisions to be made by the U.S. side. Those decisions will be made sooner than it seems, too, as Johnson will make his selections after the Tour Championship in late August. Realistically, there are only five tournaments that will be played by most of the top players in the world.

Fowler’s rise over the last month is an example of how quickly things can change, and we could be talking about any number of players doing something similar two months from now. But even as the U.S. Ryder Cup picture starts to come into focus with Fowler, Bradley and Morikawa surging, some of the rest of it is still a bit hazy with very little time left to sort things out before the best event in sports arrives and the festivities in Rome get underway.

Source link

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles