Fowler looking forward to U.S. effort to snap Ryder Cup road losing streak

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Rickie Fowler was in Stillwater Friday to be inducted into the Oklahoma State Hall of Honor, but it’s fair to say part of him was already in Rome, where the U.S. will try to end a 30-year drought of Ryder Cup victories on European soil next week.

In a few minutes spent with the press prior to the dinner at Gallagher-Iba Arena, Fowler said he had spent a good portion of Friday out at Karsten Creek, filming some promotional video and learning more about the extensive renovation which begins in October. His two sensational seasons as a Cowboy in 2007-08 and 2008-09 obviously cemented a deep bond between he and the school which he has represented with his colorful orange outfits ever since.

He didn’t need to be reminded of the daunting task at hand when he and his teammates take on Europe Sept. 29-Oct. 1 on the tight fairways of the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in the center of Rome.

“Thirty years, that’s a long time,” Fowler said. “The fairways there are tight and the rough is going to be brutal. As always, though, it’s going to come down to who can make the most putts. I really like our team and our chances of getting it done.”

Fowler, now 34, married and a father, is no longer the brash youngster on the team, but rather the elder statesman. His resurgent year on the PGA Tour under the guidance of Butch Harmon allowed him to be a selection for the squad by captain Zach Johnson and he is thrilled to be a part of it after recovering from a career dip that saw his ranking plummet to 185 in the world. A return to working with Harmon and a new caddie in Rickie Romano have certainly helped but Fowler deserves the credit for his come back.

The season included the first 62 shot in the U.S. Open, although matched moments later by Xander Schauffele. He won his sixth PGA Tour title when he prevailed in a playoff over Colin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin at the Rocket Mortgage Open. He played solid all year and his putting returned to form, which could be crucial in Rome.

Fowler will be facing an fellow Oklahoma State alum in FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland, whom Fowler was highly complimentary of Friday.

Also inducted Friday were former Oklahoma State women’s coach Ann Pitts Turner, along with wrestlers David Arndt and Shelby Wilson, soccer star Yolanda Odenyo and football receiver Justin Blackmon.

– Ken MacLeod

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source