Rickie Fowler on the British Open: ‘We’re jumping through some hurdles and dodging bullets and they’re having 32,000 fans a day at the tournament’

·3 min read

DETROIT – After missing out on the U.S. Open last month and the Masters earlier this year, Rickie Fowler doesn’t have to worry about qualifying for the British Open field – he’s exempt thanks to his top-10 finish at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019.

But he’s got other concerns about the season’s final major, especially after playing the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic with Hideki Matsuyama, who withdrew on Friday after testing positive for COVID -19.

“I’m vaccinated or whatever you want to call the shots,” he said. “Unfortunately, I know going over there, it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not.”

The R&A informed players last week that the championship will “operate under strict government oversight from the U.K. government.”

The guidelines prohibit players from going to bars, restaurants, and grocery stores during tournament week, and they must stay at either approved hotels or private residences, which can be shared with up to four members of their team and not other players.

“Yeah, there’s definitely some concerns,” Fowler said. “Guys have been talking to me or have been talking to other guys, been making calls or sending texts back and forth with some of the people with the Open just with any questions or concerns that we have because there’s multiple things that come up as far as if there happens to be a couple people on the plane that test positive when you get there, you know, what happens with that?

“Obviously we’re all going into our own small bubbles, can’t be around other players. It seems like us as players, we’re jumping through some hurdles and dodging bullets and they’re having 32,000 fans a day at the tournament, so I don’t know. I can’t really answer questions clearly with all that going on.”

Fowler, who shot 4-under 68 on Saturday and held a share of the lead in the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the blink of an eye, finished T-5 at the 2011 British Open the last time it was held at Royal St. George’s in England. He was in contention until he shot a final-round 72 as Darren Clarke claimed the Claret Jug.

“I remember it decently well,” he said. “I remember that was my second Open. I actually made it through St. Andrews (in 2010) and then the first round and a half without hitting in a bunker. I laid up in a bunker with a 6-iron at Royal St. George’s, that was the first bunker I was in in an Open Championship, so we’ll see if we can stay out of those. That’s a big thing in links golf, as you know.

“But I think a lot of the stuff that I was kind of focusing on this week with setup and making sure my grip’s in a good spot so I’m able to get through it and release properly, a lot of that will kind of be some preparation moving forward thinking of shots that I’ll be hitting at the Open as well.”

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