|Fowler knows he has to get back to work|
|Updated 5/8/2012 2:12 PM ET|
On Monday, Fowler took to Twitter — and seemingly thanked personally every one of his nearly 320,000 followers. His maiden Tour victory in his 67th start justified the hype that joined him at the hip when he turned pro in 2009. It silenced the skeptics. And it sure made a lot of people smile — among them his colleagues and even Gerry McIlroy, Rory's father, who said afterward that it was great to see Fowler win.
Some of his colleagues said his win gives golf and the Tour momentum heading into the Tour's marquee tournament this week, The Players Championship, on the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.MORE: News and notes on the PGA Tour's top 20
"It's wonderful for the game of golf," Points said. "I'm so happy for golf and the PGA Tour, because he is honest to goodness a good kid, and I really like being around him. He's got tremendous talent. Fans love him, as you can see.
"He deserves all the pub and he certainly deserves this win."
Good friend Ben Crane was on the 18th hole for the trophy presentation.
"There's not a player out here who didn't think that Rickie had the talent to win out here. We knew it was coming sooner or later," Crane said. "I'm so glad it was sooner rather than later, for the sake it won't bother him anymore."
What the win won't do is make Fowler complacent.
"We have to get back to work and keep getting better," said caddie Joe Skovron, who has known Fowler since he was 5 and has been on his bag his entire Tour career. "We both know that. Just because he won once doesn't mean we're done working. Obviously the win is going to give him confidence in knowing he can finish one off in the United States.
"He never told me he was discouraged about not winning on Tour. He's 23, he knew a win was coming, and he's handled it great. And now he'll work to get win No. 2."
Overnight leaders: It hasn't been a good year for players taking at least a share of the lead into the final round. Only eight have gone on to win on Sunday in the 20 Tour events this season. Among those failing to hold on were Kyle Stanley, Spencer Levin and Charlie Wie, who lost leads of 5, 6 and 4 strokes in successive weeks earlier this season.
History for 54-hole leaders hasn't been kind at The Players, either. Only 11 winners in the event's 30-year history had at least a share of the 54-hole lead. Last year, Graeme McDowell took the lead into Sunday — and shot 79 to fall into a tie for 33rd.
"Having a one-shot lead going into Sunday compared to having a four- or five-shot lead is completely different," said McIlroy, who won this year's Honda Classic after taking the 54-hole lead. "You can be one shot ahead, you can bogey the first, another guy birdies, you're one shot behind and you have 17 to play. Having a four- or five-shot lead is completely different because there's two ways you can approach it. You can try and protect your lead, or you can say, 'OK, I'm four shots ahead, I want to try and go five shots ahead, I want to try and go six shots ahead.' For me if I'm three ahead, I'll try and go four ahead, if I'm four ahead I'll try and go five and keep my foot on the pedal and try and build as big a lead as possible."
Chip-ins: Fred Couples withdrew from The Players, citing illness. Couples was an addition to the field as the 2011 winner of the Constellation Senior Players Championship, so he will not be replaced in the field. The field is 144 players, and Brian Harman remains the first alternate. … Twenty-two major championship winners are in the field, including seven multiple major champions, Tiger Woods (14), Phil Mickelson (four), Vijay Singh (three), Ernie Els (three), Padraig Harrington (three), Angel Cabrera (two) and Retief Goosen (two). … A total of 52 players from 19 countries outside the USA are in the field. Last year K.J. Choi of Korea became the seventh international winner in the past 10 years.
|Posted 5/7/2012 5:18 PM ET|
|Updated 5/8/2012 2:12 PM ET|