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The Rickie Renaissance: Can Rickie Fowler Win in Detroit?

The Rickie Renaissance: Can Rickie Fowler Win in Detroit?

THE RICKIE RENAISSANCE: CAN RICKIE FOWLER WIN IN DETROIT? – In a word? Absolutely. As of writing, Rickie Fowler is in a three-way tie atop the odds board alongside Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa at +1400. He’s also, without a doubt, the hottest player in this field coming into this week.

Reasons to Love Rickie This Week

For a guy who boasts five PGA Tour wins, including a PLAYERS Championship, Rickie Fowler may be playing the best golf of his entire career. Since going back to work with Butch Harmon late last year, the results have been nothing short of phenomenal. The slight backswing hitch that left the club laid-off at the top of his swing is gone. And what it’s been replaced with is nearly golf swing perfection.

The ball striking numbers bear it out, if the visual evidence isn’t enough. This season he ranks 7th in SG: Approach (150th last season), 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green (101st last season), and 10th in SG: Total (133rd last season). Couple that with putting that rates within the top-50, and you’re looking at a guy with no clear holes in his game.

Additionally, Rickie has been hotter than a brushfire since a disappointing missed cut at the PGA Championship. In the four tournaments since, he’s finished T6, T9, T5, and T13. The latest finish coming last week at the Traveler’s, where he closed out the weekend in style with scores of 60-69. That 60 he notched in the third-round is a career low for Fowler, so the argument continues that he’s never been playing better than he is right now.

Reasons that the Fowler Faithful Will Be Disappointed

The guys Rickie Fowler is tied with at the top of the board are both proven winners with as many (Collin) or more (Finau) victories than Fowler. They may not have the strong results that Fowler does coming in to this week, but they’ve flashed more consistent form over the past few seasons.

Detroit Golf Club is gaining a reputation among players as the ultimate bomb-and-gouge course, meaning that players with elite driving skills tend to fare the best. Wins by Finau and Bryson DeChambeau have provided evidence of this recently, as both of them possess elite skill off the tee.

If there is a weak part of Rickie’s game at the moment, it’s probably off the tee. He ranks 64th in SG: Off-the-Tee, and while he has good distance averaging over 308 yards, he doesn’t gain strokes at the level of some other players in this field.


The Verdict

I’m a Rickie Fowler fan and have failed outright bets on him for every major from 2014-16 to prove it. That said, this doesn’t feel like the week.

He absolutely must be playing on fumes after the last few weeks of high-level, high-leverage golf. At some point there just won’t be anything left in the tank. Ultimately, it’s just a crappy scheduling spot for Rickie. Rocket Mortgage is one of his biggest sponsors, and also the title sponsor for the event. He has to play. I’m just not really sure he wants to, beyond fulfilling contractual obligations.

Rickie will win this season. I just don’t think it will be in Detroit.

Be sure to check out our PGA picks here

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