State of the Nation '“ Golf: Let's hope Rickie Fowler can dance to major tune

COME September 28, it is unlikely that any Europeans will be dismayed if Rickie Fowler's golf stinks out Paris worse than a cheap perfume.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 5:00 am
Polite noticed: Rickie Fowler has been acknowledged as No 1 among the worlds 10 best-mannered people (Picture: Chris OMeara/AP).

The 29-year-old is a shoo-in for the American Ryder Cup team and likely to be a substantial stumbling block for the Europeans to overcome as they look to wrest back the trophy over three days at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Before then, however, it is to be hoped – for the good of the game globally – that the Californian can hoist his game to the next level and enter the major winners’ circle that has already been gatecrashed by his good pals and fellow Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Fowler joined in the frat house-style revelry that followed Spieth’s wins in the Masters, US Open and Open, plus that of Thomas in the US PGA.

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But at times he must have felt a tinge of jealousy akin to that which strikes when you see your best friend leave with the prettiest girl at the party on his arm.

It is now four years since Fowler became only the third man – behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – to place inside the top five in all four majors in a calendar year.

Since those two have 32 major championship wins between them it was expected that former world No 1 amateur Fowler would not be long in claiming either the Masters, US Open, Open or US PGA crowns – or perhaps a combination of the four.

His stunning play-off victory the following year at The Players Championship reinforced the view – yet he and the rest of us are still waiting.

This week Fowler was ranked No 1 in the world among the ‘10 best-mannered people’ by the National League of Junior Cotillions.

While this is an organisation that is devoted to ballroom dancing, they were acknowledging Fowler’s constant commitment to engaging with golf fans – particularly young golf fans –as evidenced by his signing autographs for up to two hours post-round at championships.

Tournament golf is in good hands with the likes of Fowler and – without knowing the level of his ballroom skills – let us hope he can put his best foot forward and win his first major this year.