Rickie Fowler Nearly Blows Phoenix Open Thanks to Dumb Rule

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:


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:

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.


Written by Clint Pasillas

I first picked up a club when I was a 13 year-old high school student. Later that day I played my first round at a local municipal course where I holed out a par from the fringe on my first ever hole. ...the rest of the round was all downhill, but I still hold that par in high regard!

Some 20 years later, I've played hundreds of rounds at dozens of courses. I've played junior golf, collegiate golf, and golf for the sake of getting out and drinking with the buddies.

I've tried the gadgets and do-dads, but never had a club fitting. I seldom get my complete game to cooperate in any one round, but I still love it.

From instructing youths to playing with various ailments as the injuries pile up... I may not have seen it all, but I've seen a lot in this great game.

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