After plunging in the world rankings, Rickie Fowler was forced to try to qualify for next week's U.S. Open. His effort came up just short.
Fowler's chip from the rough on 18 at a qualifying event in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday stopped a roll of the ball short of the cup.
His round of 66 finished early Tuesday at the The Lakes Golf & Country Club combined with a 1-over 73 at Brookside Golf & Country Club on Monday left him tied for 18th, one stroke short of a 16-man playoff to qualify for the major.
“Another roll, and it probably would have gone in,” Fowler told the Associated Press.
It was a disappointing end to the 32-year-old's effort to make the field after playing well in recent weeks. Fowler, once ranked No. 4 in the world, has dropped to No. 87 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The top 60 players automatically qualify, meaning Fowler had to earn his way in.
Mickelson would help Fowler out if he could
When he came up short, Phil Mickelson offered up his exemption that he no longer needs after his PGA Championship win last month.
I hereby designate my (no longer necessary) exemption to Rickie.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 8, 2021
Unfortunately for Fowler, that's not how exemptions work. He'll be forced to watch the action as Torrey Pines hosts the U.S. Open for the first time since Tiger Woods' 19-hole playoff battle victory over Rocco Mediate in 2008.
Fowler's bounce back from rough stretch
Fowler was ranked in the top 10 as recently as 2019. He's won on the PGA Tour five times and has four top-three finishes in major tournaments. He hasn't won on Tour since that year's Waste Management Open and missed the cut in seven events this season. He's picked up his play in his last two events with a T8 at the PGA Championship and a T11 at last week's Memorial Tournament.
He told AP he remains confident in his game despite this week's setback.
“I'm obviously disappointed," Fowler said. "I should have made it outright fairly easily. Not playing that well (at Brookside) and to be close to a spot is a bummer.
"But I love where my game is at and where's going. Looking at the big picture, there's a lot of good things ahead.”
Past major winners also miss the field
Fowler isn't the only prominent name to fall short of the U.S. Open field. 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley also failed in his qualifying bid. 2015 PGA Championship winner Jason Day — no. 69 in the world — withdrew from the Memorial with back issues and didn't enter a qualifying event. Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner also came up short in their qualifying efforts.
And Woods, of course, won't return to the site of his 2008 glory as he continues to recover from serious leg injuries suffered in a March car crash.
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