British Open 2019: Rickie Fowler’s chances are probably over after his first swing of the final round

July 21, 2019

In case you’ve forgotten, Rickie Fowler has yet to win a major championship in his career. The 14th-ranked player in the world will probably have to wait until 2020 for his next shot after a nightmare first hole during Sunday’s final round of the British Open.

The 30-year-old Fowler, playing alongside Justin Rose for the final 18 holes at Royal Portrush, was at the first tee when he sent his drive out of bounds to the left, caroming off a marshal along the way. As a result, Fowler was penalized a stroke and had to reload. Watch his errant tee shot below.

Fowler went on to make a double bogey to drop to six-under for the tournament, 10 shots off Shane Lowry’s overnight lead.

Fowler is far from the only golfer to have problems this week at the par-4 first hole, which has out-of-bounds both left and right. Rory McIlroy’s week started and ended after he quadruple-bogeyed the first hole during Thursday’s first round. It’s rare for a golf course to have internal out-of-bounds markers and even more rare for a hole to be flanked by internal O.B. on both sides.

The reason for the left-side internal O.B. dates back several years. The 18th hole runs parallel to the first hole, heading back to the clubhouse. But for years, the club didn’t own the small piece of land between the holes. Therefore, it was marked as out-of-bounds and The R&A decided to keep it that way for the Open.

“We felt that was highly appropriate to do so this year as we’ve rebuilt the course,” said Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of The R&A. “We try to stay true to how the course is played.”

Follow along with our leaderboard and live blog of Sunday’s final round.

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