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Previewing Rickie Fowler at the 99th PGA Championship

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The 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow starts on Thursday, and Rickie Fowler is one of the favorites to win just as he’s been at every major this year. Fowler goes to Quail Hollow coming off top 10s in four of his last six tournaments including the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He is fourth-biggest favorite in the field.

  • Rory McIlroy: 7-1
  • Jordan Spieth: 9-1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 12-1
  • Dustin Johnson: 12-1
  • Rickie Fowler: 14-1

There is some pretty compelling data, however, about why this weekend could be Fowler’s first major. Primarily, he plays great at this course. Quail Hollow is the site of the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour which was Fowler’s first win back in 2012. Fowler is No. 10 in scoring average here in the last five years and even better than that overall.

Also, Fowler is having a sort of low-key elite year. He’s No. 2 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained against the field which is essentially just how much better he is in any given tournament than his peers (only Dustin Johnson is ahead of him).

Fowler is normally a solid driver of the ball, and this course rewards great ones off the tee (which is why McIlroy has won there twice).

Somebody in Stillwater asked me last weekend if Fowler is ever going to win a major. I told them I think he will. He’s not going to win three or four like Spieth or Rory, but he’ll run into one or two at some point in his career. It’s almost impossible to keep finishing in the top five or top 10 in majors and not win (i.e. The Sergio).

Fowler is joined in the field by Oklahoma Staters Alex Noren (still the highest-ranked Poke in the world), Peter Uihlein and Charles Howell III.

But it’s Fowler who will command the eyes of Poke nation when 156 players looking for the final major of the season tee it up on Thursday morning. He’ll go with Rory and Jon Rahm in the afternoon.

  • Thursday: 12:35 p.m. CST
  • Friday: 7:25 a.m.

Who knows? We may get a 2012 redux at Quail Hollow when Fowler hit the shots Rory couldn’t to take home the prize.

Or we might get a 2014 rendition where Fowler and Phil Mickelson are mixing it up with McIlroy and gets run over down the stretch.

Either way, the final major of the year should be a great one, and OSU’s favorite golfing son should certainly be heavily involved.

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