After playing in 41 straight Major championships prior to 2021, Rickie Fowler will now miss his second of the calendar year after failing to qualify for the US Open by a shot.
Playing in the loaded Final Qualifying site in Columbus, Ohio – after finishing T-11 in the Memorial on Sunday – Fowler began Monday’s 36-hole competition with a one-over 73 at Brookside Golf & Country Club, then closed with a six-under 66 at The Lakes Golf & Country Club. That left him in a tie for 18th, one shot out of a 5-for-4 playoff to round out the 16 qualifiers who will advance at Torrey Pines.
That group of 16 consists of 14 PGA Tour pros, one mini-tour player (Michael Johnson) and one amateur (Pierceson Coody). Chez Reavie and Erik van Rooyen shared medalist honours at 12-under 132, while 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel also played his way into the field.
Play on Monday was delayed for roughly three hours as a rainstorm passed through the area. The vast majority of the field had to return on Tuesday to complete their second rounds – including Fowler, who birdied the 16th hole to get within one shot of qualifying position. He made par on the 17th and then on the par-4 18th, he hit his approach over the green and faced a long chip back that stopped just short of cup for birdie that would have gotten him into the playoff.
“This morning it was really, yeah, gas pedal down,” Fowler said. “We executed that minus the putts. I gave myself looks, I made a nice one to start on 14 to kind of get things going. Had some good looks coming in. Unfortunately, there were some tough clubs that had some movement and it was tough to match the kind of line and speed, ones that you kind of get out there and hope you got it right. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”
Fowler will be competing in a playoff for the second alternate spot from the Columbus sectional.
This will be the first US Open that Fowler will miss since 2010. He has three top-10s in the championship, including a tie for second in the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst. Fowler also missed this year’s Masters, the product of a barren stretch of play that saw him drop as low as No.128 in the World Ranking, and needed a special invitation from the PGA of America to get into the field at the PGA Championship.
He has shown signs of improvement, however, with a T-8 at the PGA – which was his first top-10 on the PGA Tour since January 2020 – and the T-11 at last week’s Memorial.