Rickie Fowler happy to be back in the 2023 U.S. Open and among world’s top 50

Rickie Fowler happy to be back in the 2023 U.S. Open and among world’s top 50
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LOS ANGELES – Rickie Fowler has been all smiles this week.

Friends and family have followed him during all three practice rounds. His young daughter could hardly contain her excitement when Fowler approached the ninth green during Tuesday afternoon’s walk around Los Angeles Country Club. She demanded the putter, then a couple of airborne tosses from her father into the blue California sky.

The SoCal native is back home, but he’s also returned to golf’s biggest stage, and that’s reason enough for his ear-to-ear grin.

“Back where we should be,” Fowler said after his Wednesday practice round. “It’s nice to finally be back into the top 50 in the world and to be back in this tournament. It’s a sign things are headed in the right direction.”

Fowler is in the field this week after missing each of the past two U.S. Opens. He came agonizingly close to a spot in last year’s tournament, but he lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff at the Jupiter, Florida, qualifier.

Fowler, currently ranked No. 45 in the world, fell to as low as No. 185 in September 2022. It’s been a steady rise back to his current position, which was the primary focus when the struggles reached their peak.

“The goal was to get inside the top 50, so now it’s nice to see all of the hard work pay off,” he said. “I obviously want to get back inside the winner’s circle, but this was the first step. Now, it’s all about continuing the improvement.”

Fowler will start his U.S. Open in the early wave at 11:02 a.m. ET. He is grouped with Jason Day, another player who hasn’t competed in the past two Opens, and Justin Rose.

Full-field tee times from U.S. Open

Fowler is expecting a huge change in conditions between his early first round and late Friday tee time (4:32 p.m. ET). The golf course is expected to harden throughout the week, but he doesn’t see any added pressure to go low when conditions might be at their easiest Thursday morning, partly because there’s an air of mystery on what exactly will be required this weekend.

“Nobody’s really sure what the scores are going to be, so I think that makes it even more important to just play the game with yourself and just execute. You see what you can do and where that puts you at the end,” he said.

No matter the end result, getting back to this stage is a huge step in Fowler’s resurgence. 

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