Erasing a drought dating to the 2019 Phoenix Open, Rickie Fowler bested Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin in a playoff.
seaquestboatrental.com – Rickie Fowler took a solo lead into the final round of the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic searching for his first victory since the 2019 Phoenix Open. After showing tremendous patience for more than four years, he had to show just a little bit more to see that streak come to an end. In a thrilling playoff Fowler against Adam Hadwin and Collin Morikawa, Fowler birdied the par-4 18th to capture that elusive sixth PGA Tour victory.
The odds-on favorite to win the tournament, Fowler has been on a hot streak lately but, until today, hadn’t been able to hoist a trophy to showcase the high level of golf he’s been playing. After missing some fairways during final-round action, the former Oklahoma State star had to fend off a pair of hot hands to show unquestionably that he is indeed back.
The popular Ryder Cup-winning American player who had not won in multiple years on the PGA and has struggled at times to maintain the belief needed to have success at the highest level won the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club. Grade: A+
Below are grades following the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Challenge:
T2. Collin Morikawa (-24): I said on Saturday that I didn’t really care what happened on Sunday, and that remained true even as Morikawa tried to fight his way to the top of the board. This was the type of week everyone has come to expect from Morikawa — amazing from tee to green, and if the putts fall, he’s going to win the golf tournament. It’s also a bit different than what’s been going on with him recently. In three of his previous six starts coming into this week, he had lost strokes either off the tee or (gasp!) with his iron play. This week portends for what could be a strong closing kick to the summer for somebody who has not fallen off quite as much as everyone thinks. Grade: A-
Ludvig Aberg (T40): My biggest takeaway from Aberg’s nice week is what European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who played with Aberg on Thursday and Friday, said about him before the third round.
“He told me there have only been a few [players] that he’s played with for the very first time that have the ‘wow’ factor,” relayed Nick Dougherty of Golf Channel. “One of them is Rory. That was back in 2008 at the Dunhill Links.
“Now he says Ludvig Aberg is one of those guys as well. He said his driver is a huge weapon, he makes the game look effortless. He added that as long as he continues to show form, he will definitely be considered for the [Ryder Cup] team. … This guy is going to be a superstar.”
Aberg is a total menace with driver in hand— he finished third in the field in strokes gained off the tee — and is going to be a force. His double-bogey-bogey run late on Saturday took him completely out of the golf tournament, but it was the 65-67 start that has folks buying stock (a lot of it) in what seems like an extremely bright future. Grade: A+
MC. Justin Thomas (+1): It’s been a no good very strange year for the two-time major champion. After a few months of struggle, he seemed to turn the corner last week at the Travelers Championship when he got in the mix on the weekend. However, a 76 in Round 1 at Detroit Golf Club paved the way for his third missed cut in his last four PGA Tour starts.
Clearly, he’s struggling. Whether that struggle is simply physical or mental or both remains to be seen. And though the near future — the Open Championship, FedEx Cup Playoffs and Ryder Cup — do not bring about optimism that J.T. can apply a quick fix to whatever besets him at the moment, he remains undeterred in his quest to once again become the best player int he world.
“Definitely saw a lot of great signs last week and played some really, really good golf those last three days,” he said earlier in the week. “I’m just a couple events away from being right there. And a lot of things can happen. The unknown is the fun and bad part about this game, so we’ll see where it takes us.”
What is true, however, is the old adage that nearly every player who has played at the level J.T. has played at has uttered at some point in their careers: Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. Grade: F
MC. Tony Finau (-1): The potential U.S. Ryder Cup team did not have the greatest week in Detroit. Since winning Mexico earlier in the year, Finau has more missed cuts (2) than top 25s (1). This is a curiosity that can probably be attributed to the ebbs and flows of professional golf. Unlike J.T., Finau has not dropped off the planet from a statistical standpoint. In fact, he’s having one of the best seasons of his career from a strokes gained perspective.
It was a fun return for the 2022 champion to Detroit — replete with a bobblehead, menu item and meeting with Chris Webber — but unfortunately it ended much (much) earlier this time around for Finau than it did when he touched off back-to-back wins a little under a year ago at this tournament. Grade: F