View From The Fairway - The Struggles of Rickie Fowler
Commenting on several key topics from the past week, Golfshake's Derek Clements declares his wish to see Rickie Fowler back to his best form, and looks at a special invite for Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau's travel exploits, and the problem of arson attacks at golf clubs.
WHO would ever have thought that Rickie Fowler would have required a special invitation to play in this week’s PGA Championship? It was only in 2014 that he finished in the top five in each of that year’s majors - fifth in The Masters, second at both the US Open and The Open and third at the US PGA Championship. Just three years ago he was second at The Masters - a tournament he missed in 2021 because he didn’t qualify, ending a run of 32 successive appearances in the majors. Unbelievably, he is now ranked 128th in the world. Fowler is one of the good guys and I, for one, am rooting for him to find his game again.
IT COULD only have happened to Bryson DeChambeau. Convinced he had missed the cut at the recent Wells Fargo Championship after a late triple bogey, he caught a plane home to Dallas. But when he got there he was informed that he had made it to the weekend. So he had to catch a private flight from Dallas at 2.45am to ensure he could make his 8.10am tee time. And lo and behold, he shot a three-under-par 68 that included a double-bogey at the 18th. He went on to secure a top-10 finish. "I am very tired," DeChambeau said afterwards. “It was nobody’s fault but my own. We did a lot of scrambling to get back. One of the scenarios was turning right back around, but the crew couldn't do it. So we had to get a new crew, and we were like, 'Well, let's just go in the morning.’ So I left at 2:45am on a flight, and I got here at 6.20am. Drove 30 minutes to the golf course, put on my clothes in the locker room and headed out to the putting green. I did get a workout last night, though."
PHIL MICKELSON has been given a special exemption to play in the US Open at Torrey Pines next month. The left-hander is a six-time runner-up, most recently behind Justin Rose at Merion in 2013, although he has not posted a top-25 finish since then and it has to be said that this is all about sentiment rather than form. He will tee it up the day after his 51st birthday in June. USGA chief executive Mike Davis said: "Phil Mickelson's incredible USGA playing record and overall career achievements are among the most noteworthy in the game's history. We are thrilled to welcome him to this year's US Open at Torrey Pines.” In all probability, Mickelson won’t make the cut but it is bound to be fun watching him try.
AT LEAST four UK golf clubs have suffered fires recently – sadly, all are believed to be the work of arsonists. The latest is Fereneze Golf Club in Glasgow, where a gorse bush next to one of the greens was set alight. It is not the first time the course has been targeted - there was another fire earlier in the year. Fereneze Golf Club captain Bert Holt said five separate fires were started. He said: “One of the fires was next to the third tee and another close to the 17th tee. Thankfully, there was no damage to the golf course. We also had a case recently where a group ripped out flowers which had just been planted. It was pointless vandalism." The weekend before, at Vale of Leven Golf Club in Scotland, trees were set alight. That was just a few days after the clubhouse at Marsden Park Golf Club in Lancashire was set on fire. Earlier this year Uphall Golf Club in Scotland also saw its clubhouse destroyed by fire.
ANTOINE ROZNER has said qualifying for Europe's Ryder Cup side this September would be the "best day of my life", although he insists that it is not his main focus. The Frenchman claimed his first European Tour title in his rookie season at the Golf in Dubai Championship last December, before following it up with victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March. Rozner shocked the golfing world in his WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play debut by defeating Bryson DeChambeau in the Group Stage, with the 28-year-old having further opportunities to test himself against the world's best at the AT&T Bryon Nelson and PGA Championship. He is currently 23rd in the European Points List and 20th in the World Points List, with Rozner acknowledging he has work to do to force his way to Ryder Cup contention. "I think I'm still a little bit far behind in everything, not just in the rankings but in Padraig's [Harrington] mind," Rozner told Sky Sports. "I think there are a lot of good players still in front of me, so I'm not really focusing on it.” Don’t bet against Rozner making Harrington’s team - and do not believe for one moment that he is not focusing upon it.
HATS OFF to Kedleston Park, which has received a SafeGolf accreditation from England Golf, demonstrating the club’s commitment to safeguarding children and young people as well as adults at risk in the sport of golf. It is a parkland course set within the grounds of Kedleston Hall, an 18th century stately home just a few miles northwest of Derby city centre. It has long been regarded as one of the finest courses in Derbyshire and the East Midlands. The club is committed to growing golf and, crucially, encouraging junior golfers. The Junior section at Kedleston Park is governed by a separate Junior Trust Committee within the club which strives to offer a variety of coaching opportunities; to get more members actively participating and enjoying their golf. “Kedleston Park is a friendly and forward-thinking club,” said Jan Cunningham, Kedleston’s Welfare Officer, who led the club’s push towards the SafeGolf accreditation. “This award will help us spread the message that children are safe and sound at Kedleston Park and that we understand the requirements of beginner golfers.” SafeGolf is a partnership of UK golf bodies committed to promoting a safe and positive environment for all those participating, working and volunteering in golf. The SafeGolf partnership consists of members from the golfing bodies across Great Britain & Ireland and has been established to help golf respond to the issue of child protection in sport. Its mission is to safeguard the welfare of children and young people, as well as adults at risk, in the sport of golf. SafeGolf is firstly, a website – www.safegolf.org – through which anyone with a concern about the welfare of a player, or the behaviour or practice of a coach, volunteer, organiser, parent or a player, can contact the lead safeguarding officer at their national governing body. Secondly, it is the safeguarding standard England Golf will promote to all their affiliated clubs to ensure all clubs provide a safe and positive experience to children and young people whilst playing golf. The PGA are also using the standards to apply to all their PGA professional Coaches.
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