Rickie Fowler’s Chance to Lock Up Automatic Ryder Cup Spot Slips Away

August 29, 2016

Rickie Fowler, the most popular speculative Ryder Cup captain’s pick around, will continue to be just that for at least another two weeks.

Fowler led The Barclays after 54 holes and was on the verge of locking up a top-eight automatic qualifying spot for the Ryder Cup on his own, but a disastrous back nine at Bethpage Black keeps him on the outside looking in.

He’ll now need to rely on Davis Love III to choose him as one of the four captain’s picks.

Fowler opened The Barclays 12th in American Ryder Cup standings, and he didn’t even need to win to crack the top eight and pave his own way, but he unraveled on the Black course’s difficult back nine. According to the projections of Golf Channel’s Justin Ray, Fowler went from fourth to 11th in the Ryder Cup standings in the span of eight holes.

He made the turn tied for the lead with Patrick Reed at 10 under, but he was four over on the back nine. That included a bogey, double bogey, birdie, bogey finish. A birdie on the 18th would have still been good enough to get in, but a bogey gave the spot to Zach Johnson. On the final nine, Fowler hit just 2 of 7 fairways.

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“Disappointing back nine,” Fowler said. “I didn’t drive it the way I needed to. It was just a little off here and there. You had to be playing out of the fairway. So yeah, very disappointing. Not the way I’ve been playing the back nine all week. Coming to the last eight holes, I made one bogey through the week. I don’t know, like I said, just made a couple bad swings at the wrong time.”

Fowler is the defending champion at next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. Love will make three captain’s picks after the BMW Championship on Sept. 12 and the final one on Sept. 25 after the Tour Championship.

“I played great this week, and I’m not worried about resumé or anything like that,” Fowler said. “I’ve just got to continue to work on the game, continue getting better. It was almost really good this week.”