By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – World number nine Rickie Fowler will look to rebound from a near-miss at the U.S. Open when he headlines the field at this week’s Quicken Loans National in Maryland.
Fowler, who will be making his sixth start in the event, will be eager to get underway in Thursday’s opening round, which will mark his first event since he squandered the chance of a maiden major 10 days ago.
The 28-year-old American started the final round of the year’s second major two shots off the lead but shot even-par 72 at Erin Hills to finish six shots behind Brooks Koepka and in a tie for fifth place.
But Fowler, a four-times winner on the PGA Tour who has been grouped with Australian Marc Leishman and Canadian Adam Hadwin for the first two rounds, is not about to hit the panic button.
“I feel like golf-wise I’m playing at the highest level. If you look at the negatives too much, I mean, you’re going to be stuck doing that the whole time,” Fowler told reporters after his final round at the U.S. Open.
“You have to measure success in different ways, not just by winning, just because that doesn’t happen a whole lot. I think Tiger (Woods) had the best winning percentage of all time at 30 percent, and you’re lucky to even sniff close to 10.”
Fowler arrives at TPC Potomac with six top-10 finishes in 13 events this season, including a win at the Honda Classic in late February.
Despite a relatively weak field, there are a number of players who are expected to contend, including Justin Thomas, who is seeking his fourth win of the season and reigning Players Championship winner Kim Si-woo of South Korea.
Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedExCup winner who triumphed at last month’s AT&T Byron Nelson, defending champion Billy Hurley III, former winner Bill Haas and Swede David Lingmerth are among the other contenders.
One person who will not be at TPC Potomac is Tiger Woods. While the event is run by Woods’s foundation, the former world number one is currently receiving professional help on how to manage his medications for back pain and a sleep disorder.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)