Tour phenom Rickie Fowler already skipped his last two years of college at Oklahoma State — maybe he can skip Q school, too.
Fowler's first two Tour outings since turning pro this fall earned him $553,700. Not bad for a couple of weeks, but that tally is currently 10 spots and about $70,000 shy of the coveted top 125 on the money list, who are exempt from Q school for the 2010 season. The Viking Classic rainout hurt Fowler's earning potential, leaving him only one more event, next week's Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to make up the difference.
"You know, I'm in a great spot right now," Fowler said. "Getting in the [Children's Miracle Network Classic], having a chance to get my card that way, if not, go to [the] final stage [of Q school]. I'd definitely take the win because it gives me status, and you'd be a past champion. But I'm happy with where I'm at right now as well."
The 20-year-old from Murrieta, Calif., wouldn't be thinking about Q school if he had won the Frys.com Open in Scottsdale in October. Fowler posted rounds of 65-64-69-64 to finish in a three-way playoff, which he lost to Troy Matteson on the second playoff hole. Fowler was undaunted about coming up short in the playoff.
"Troy hit a great shot into 17, the second playoff hole, to a foot and a half, so it was out of my hands," Fowler said. "I couldn't do anything about it."
With a purse of $4.7 million up for grabs at Disney, Fowler will likely have to finish in the top 15 to have any hope of skipping Q school and cruising onto the Tour next year. Doing so would put him in rarefied air: the short list of guys who made it to the Tour without having to go through Q school includes Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods — enviable company, indeed.Photo: Fowler at the Frys.com Open (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)