It might not have been the green jacket and trophy he was hoping for, but on Sunday afternoon on the other side of the globe, Rickie Fowler finally captured his first professional victory.
At first glance the victory doesn't seem like that big of a deal. Sure, he finally won a pro event, but after watching him blow leads and crumble down the stretch on the weekend in PGA Tour tournaments, the move to fly clear across the world to South Korea to play in the OneAsia Tour's Korea Open seemed like a desperate attempt to get a win against a watered-down field.
But if you look closer at the leaderboard, you'll notice a couple big names right behind Fowler: Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang, two guys with major championship wins on their resumes.
Fowler didn't just win another tour event; he took down an international event with some of the best names in the field making a push in the final round, including McIlroy, who fired a 64 on Sunday.
Fowler won by an impressive six shots, but it may have been the way he made a charge on Saturday -- firing a 63 to grab the lead -- that made you believe the 22-year-old is going to be a major player on the golf scene for a long time to come.
With a professional win under his belt, Fowler will almost certainly go into the McGladrey Classic with a boatload of confidence. With so many up-and-coming stars winning majors (McIlroy) and growing up this season (Ryo Ishikawa), you had to wonder if Fowler was falling behind.
Winning on the PGA Tour will certainly validate his place as one of golf's great young players, and with a professional victory crossed off his list, Fowler can set his sights on bigger and better things going forward -- like winning a major championship.
The way he played this last weekend in Korea, there's reason to believe that Fowler's time could be now. With his game on the upswing, one of America's best players finally appears to be living up to his potential.
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- Rickie Fowler