Rickie Fowler has been a PGA professional since 2009, and had 4 tour wins to his name when entering the final round of the 2019 Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. With that said, his last tour victory came in 2017 at the Honda Classic, so entering play on Sunday held some meaning to the 30 year-old.
Teeing off on Sunday with a 4 stroke lead put Fowler in control of his own destiny… that is until the 11th hole. It should be noted that in six prior occasions where he has held the 54-hole lead at a Tour event, he has won the event just once. Moreover, in each of the occasions — now 7 — he has still yet to record a round under par on the final day of play.
Back to the 11th hole
Sitting at -19 and laying 2, Fowler took his third stroke of the hole on a rainy afternoon in Phoenix. His pitch shot from a few yards off the green appeared to land and skip off of a puddle on the green, instead of checking up. As the ball released, it ran through the green and down a bank into a hazard beyond the green.
After taking the penalty stroke and drop — it was actually a placed ball when, after several attempted drops rolled into the hazard, he was allowed to place the ball — Fowler walked up the bank to assess the shot ahead of him.
“Call an official,” he stated after the ball rolled back into the hazard another time. Although this time, he was well away from the ball while still planning his next shot.
Twitter helps us with the visuals of what transpired:
Rickie Fowler has made a triple bogey 7.
The lead is down to 1. pic.twitter.com/1gZxTfJvVJ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 3, 2019
A hopeful Fowler assumed that he would be awarded a free drop since he was away from the ball:
“I think you’re just going to get to re-place it with the way the rule is.”
After a discussion with an official proved to be of no help, yet another penalty stroke was assessed to his score, and a visibly upset Fowler hastily chipped up onto the green before he lost another ball. On the green, he miraculously drained an impressive 16-foot putt to record a triple-bogey 7 on the hole.
Our own twitter account tried to help with the rule as best as we could:
Personally, I would enact the mulligan rule and act like no one saw.
Tough break for Fowler. https://t.co/FUyWxILtCN
— Bunkers Paradise (@BunkersParadise) February 3, 2019
During what was dubbed “one of the weirdest triple bogeys you’ll ever see,” Branden Grace was able pull to within 1 stroke of the lead after sinking a birdie put ahead of Rickie Fowler’s group.
After sinking that 16-footer, a determined Fowler was able to recover from disaster and eventually birdie 2 of his final 4 holes to capture his 5th PGA Tour event win.