Rickie Fowler explains why he sticks around to congratulate Tour winners

March 4, 2019

Rickie Fowler had a heck of a finish at Sunday’s Honda Classic, making birdies at 15, 17 and 18 to take a share of the clubhouse lead with Brooks Koepka at eight under. But when Keith Mitchell buried a birdie putt of his own at 18 to win the event, Fowler was there to offer congratulations.

It’s become something of a Fowler trademark, sticking around to congratulate winners by the 18th green. On Sunday evening, he explained why. “I mean, I’ve signed my card, I’ve done everything I can do,” Fowler said after posting his Sunday 67. “I love competing, I love going up against the best in the world. I love beating all them, and I think that shows up in some of the best players in the world that step up down the stretch or can finish when needed. But once the card is signed, I mean, I kind of become a spectator.”

“I knew what Keith was going through on the last, having been there, and it’s not easy, winning out here, especially your first. So seeing him make that putt, it’s cool. I know the feeling. All you can do is sit back, smile, congratulate him. I’m sure he’s pretty pumped. He’ll enjoy that.”

Rickie Fowler sticks around to congratulate PGA Tour winners.

While Fowler has famously ended up in celebrations involving his friends (he was there to congratulate Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship, and Tiger Woods at the 2018 Tour Championship, and Patrick Reed at the 2018 Masters, and Justin Thomas at the 2017 PGA Championship, just to get us started) he told reporters that Mitchell isn’t a close friend of his.

“I don’t know him that well. I know he’s close to some of the guys that I know, been around a little bit, and awesome guy. Obviously, he’s a good enough player to win. I’ve always heard a lot of good things about him. I haven’t played with him or seen him play much.”

For his part, Fowler did plenty to fire up the crowd coming down the stretch. He made twin 2s at 15 and 17, pouring a lengthy putt in from the fringe at 17 that sent a charge through the South Florida spectators.

And at the reachable par-5 18th, Fowler ended up with a touchy bunker shot for his third but made an all-or-nothing shot look easy before burying the birdie putt.

But the rally ended up one shot shy of a chance to face down Mitchell in a playoff. PGA Tour cameras caught Fowler’s reaction as Mitchell’s final putt dropped; he gave a shrug and an appreciative “what-are-you-gonna-do” head nod. Then he went to track down the man who’d just beaten him.