Rickie Fowler not a contender at Farmers Insurance Open
Rickie Fowler, the 23-year-old from Murrieta, Calif., who is a fan favorite because he wears golf outfits that would stand out on a fashion runway, because his hair is long and because his background is unconventional -- Fowler learned the game on public courses and was a dirt bike racer for a while -- is still looking for his first PGA Tour win.
Evidence of how difficult winning is was clear Sunday. Fowler's friend Kyle Stanley, 24, was set to become a first-time PGA Tour winner Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines when he took a three-shot lead to the par-five 18th hole. Stanley, though, hit into the water and missed a four-foot putt for double bogey. His eight put him into a tie with Brandt Snedeker and into a playoff.
Fowler had been expected to become the next great American golf star since he came out of Oklahoma State, did a short apprenticeship on the Nationwide Tour and then joined the PGA Tour two years ago.
Fowler has finished second four times and third once, but his only win has been in the Kolon Korea Open, a non-PGA Tour event, last fall.
This was Fowler's first tournament of the 2012 season, and his rounds of 68, 70, 71 and 70 kept him safely in the middle of the field but never close enough to the top to be considered a threat to win. Fowler's 279 had him tied for 13th. He will play this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and is scheduled to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in two weeks. He said Sunday that he is undecided about playing in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.
Even though he was not a contender Sunday, the galleries following Fowler were large.
"It's fun for me," he said.
Fowler said he does not have a timeline for earning his first PGA Tour win.
"Where I am today, it's been a huge success. I guess [winning] is kind of the one thing that just needs to be done. I'm going to get my first win out of the way and, like I said, that's one of my main goals going into this year."
-- Diane Pucin, reporting from La Jolla
Photo: Rickie Fowler watches his tee shot at No. 18 during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday. Credit: Donald Miralle / Getty Images