IAN LADYMAN: Rickie Fowler is firing again as he threatens to bring three-year slump to an end at the Open… and hints he is still open to the Premier League’s financial opportunities

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IAN LADYMAN: Rickie Fowler is firing again as he threatens to bring three-year slump to an end… as he admits he would love to get involved in the Premier League, despite backing out of Leeds buy-out by San Francisco 49ers

  • American Rickie Fowler got his first bogey-free round in a major since 2018
  • He was linked with a stake in Leeds United but pulled out after their relegation
  • Fowler has not ruled out another look at opportunities in the Premier League

Rickie Fowler’s appreciation of all things English may not have extended to an investment in Leeds United but as his golf continues to improve, he has not ruled out another look at the financial opportunities presented by the Premier League. 

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Fowler has long enjoyed links golf and its challenges and his 67 compiled in the worst of the weather on Saturday morning provided further indication that a three-year slump that almost saw him lose his PGA Tour card is over. 

This has been a progressive week for the 34-year-old Californian, then, even if round two was briefly interrupted by a heckler calling him a ‘coward’ for deciding against following friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas into making a financial commitment to the recent Leeds buy-out by the San Francisco 49ers. 

Fowler was able to laugh about that on Saturday but suggested his interest in the English football landscape may not be over. 

‘Yeah the Leeds thing is already all done and hopefully it all works out with JT and Jordan being involved,’ said Fowler. ‘My financial team just didn’t necessarily advise for it, so we decided not to go forward. But I hope they play well and kind of get things turned around because I know JT and Jordan would be very happy. 

American Rickie Fowler (pictured) got his first bogey-free round in a major since 2018

American Rickie Fowler (pictured) got his first bogey-free round in a major since 2018

He was linked with a stake in Leeds United but pulled out after their relegation last season

He was linked with a stake in Leeds United but pulled out after their relegation last season 

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‘It doesn’t change my interest at all. There may be some other opportunities out there. Football, or soccer as we call it, obviously isn’t as big in the States but we still appreciate sport at the highest level. 

‘When opportunities like that come up, I would love to be a part of something. We’ll see what the future holds.’ 

Fowler was second to Rory McIlroy here in 2014 but his week at Hoylake was close to being over on Friday. A scrambled par at 18 ensured he made the cut right on the number and he was first out in the early morning wind and rain on Saturday to post a flawless round of 14 pars and four birdies. 

Further evidence, then, of a return to form. In recent years, Fowler’s decline was so bad that the former World No 4 almost fell completely off the radar. But a change of caddy and a period working with renowned coach Butch Harmon has propelled Fowler back to territory that feels more familiar. 

‘It was tough,’ he reflected. ‘It was a grind. Luckily everything else in my life was amazing. From family life, friends, having a little one, getting married before that. 

Fowler has not ruled out another look at financial opportunities in the Premier League

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Fowler has not ruled out another look at financial opportunities in the Premier League

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‘Everything else was great, so it was just kind of golf that was the missing link to bring everything together. 

‘I always had other things to lean on. It was just unfortunate the golf wasn’t really heading the right direction for a while. It was tough. But at the same time, I kind of enjoyed the grind and work of it to try and get back to a better place. 

‘You never know with this game do you? You definitely appreciate the times when you’re playing well and in somewhat control. But you just never know how long they’re going to last. I’m definitely enjoying where things are and where they’re heading. They’re going to continue to get better. 

‘But that’s just part of the game and part of life. There’s going to be ups and downs, and you hope the low times don’t last very long. Unfortunately we went through a few years, but are through it now.’ 

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