Rickie Fowler on Phil Mickelson: "I know how much I got under his skin!"

PGA Tour pro Rickie Fowler reveals his fond memories of the Match Play, including his stunning victory over Phil Mickelson. 

Ben Smith's picture
Tue, 21 Mar 2023
Rickie Fowler on Phil Mickelson: "I know how much I got under his skin!"

Rickie Fowler arrives at the WGC Match Play with one thing on his mind: the 2023 Masters

According to the ever reliable stats guru Nosferatu, Fowler, 34, needs a quarter final finish in Austin to be confident of securing a spot at Augusta. 

If he fails, he'll turn his attention to the Valero Texas Open in a bid to get enough points to make his return. He didn't qualify for the 86th Masters.

Fowler met the media on Tuesday where he spoke of his renewed optimism for his career. 

Last year, Fowler returned to work with renowned coach Butch Harmon and switched caddies

Harmon reckons he'll win this year. 

Fowler, who is currently the World No. 59, was asked whether his apparent return to form has happened faster than he anticipated. 

He said:

"I knew what I was capable of but had to go in with kind of either low or no expectations and just put the work in, and it was definitely nice to see some immediate progress or steps in the right direction."

"They have run their course"

It has not been confirmed, but it appears this will be the last ever WGC. 

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan previously outlined how he would 'never' say anything had run its course. 

But he wants the tour to focus on their elevated events in 2024. Those limited-field, no-cut events will also be for PGA Tour members only. 

In other words, LIV Golf players won't be allowed.

Fowler disagrees about the WGCs. 

He said: 

"They have kind of run their course. I think with some of the changes coming, it kind of picks up or makes up for what the WGCs have kind of been."

"I know how much it got under his skin..."

Fowler has fond memories of this event. 

As a 22-year-old wearing a cap far, far too big for his head and a bright pink shirt, he smashed Phil Mickelson 6&5 at the Match Play in 2011. 

Mickelson stated that Fowler was going to do 'big things for American' golf after he was defeated. 

For full context, here is the exchange Fowler had with a reporter about that win:

Q. And then as it relates to this tournament, what would be your single fondest memory of match play at this event?

"My single fondest? Probably beating Phil in Tucson. That was a fun one."

Q. Elaborate, please.

"I played well. Obviously, you have to to beat Phil in match play. But I remember I hit a couple 4-irons. One of 'em I hit to gimmie on -- I can't remember, a par-5 on the back nine up the hill. Yeah, it was just one of those days I kind of had it going, and Phil and I were, you know, a lot closer then because we spent a lot of time both playing practice rounds and games together and it was fun to get the better of him that day."

Q. Any words that stand out? With Phil there's got to be something.

"No. I mean, we had plenty of games back in those days. And even when I was his teammate, I remember one day I think I made nine or ten birdies at Augusta and I was his teammate. And I remember on the 8th hole he was trying to trick me on the read and get in my head. Luckily I ended up making it. So it was, you know, to get paired up against him and ultimately play really well and get the better of him, I just, I know how much it maybe got under his skin a bit and, yeah, it's just fun when you get to beat your buddies."

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