By The Forecaddie from GolfWeek
There’s something about “Cup fever” that makes American Rickie Fowler (Navajo) break out in warm smiles and good vibes. It’s certainly not something he’s trying to remedy. Instead, he tells The Man Out Front that he’s thrilled to have the bug.
He is headed to only his second Ryder Cup (he was 0-1-2 in Wales four years ago), but don’t think of Fowler as a novice at this international team stuff. Fact is, he’s quite proud of his Walker Cup record in 2007 and ’09. He played four times each year in the biennial matches between the American and Great Britain & Ireland amateurs, going 7-1.
Enough said? Fowler smiled.
He did say, however, that looks can be deceiving. His ’09 Walker Cup experience was a romp over GB&I, and nine of 10 team members have turned pro, but Fowler has sentimental ties to the ’07 squad.
“Legendary,” is how Fowler describes that squad. Teammates Dustin Johnson, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Colt Knost, Jamie Lovemark, Webb Simpson and Kyle Stanley earned PGA Tour cards, and Jonathan Moore plays in Asia.
When talk rolled around to future PGA Tour careers, only Trip Kuehne, a committed career amateur, stayed out of the conversation, and Fowler concedes that dreams were shared. “You kind of got the sense that we were on the right track, given the past record of (Walker Cuppers),” he said.
Fowler’s 3-1 record at Northern Ireland’s Royal County Down in 2007 included a foursomes victory alongside Horschel over a pair of Northern Irishmen: Jonathan Caldwell and some 18-year-old named Rory McIlroy. Just a mention of that match intensifies Rickie’s “Cup fever.”