After long wait, Rickie Fowler is far from crushed after falling one spot short of getting into US Open

BROOKLINE, Mass. – So close.

Rickie Fowler fell one spot short Thursday of playing in the 122nd US Open at The Country Club, his streak of playing the national championship ending at 10 consecutive years. He needed two players to withdraw on Thursday to get into the field. Only one player did so.

But don’t worry – the guy whose glass is always 3/4s full is far from glum.

“It’s not how you want it to go. But to go through qualifying, and at least get the alternate spot in the playoff, that was good,” Fowler said. “Enjoyed being around (The Country Club) and playing with the guys and getting in some good work on the range. So there is a lot of good stuff to take away from not being able to play.”

Fowler’s longshot bid to play began earlier this month in the US Open’s final qualifying in Florida at The Club at Admirals Cove. He missed a short birdie putt on his final hole that would have put him in a playoff for the final of four spots. But the following day he won a playoff for the one alternate spot for the US Open out of the site.

And so his wait began.

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When Fowler landed Boston on Monday, he was the second alternate to get into the field. On Tuesday, he played nine holes with Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Joel Dahmen. On Wednesday, he played nine more with Brian Harman.

On Thursday, he was at the course at 6:30 am local time.

Fowler’s chances bungee jumped upward when Abraham Ancer withdrew with an illness early Thursday morning, moving Fowler to first alternate. But when the last tee time came and went at 2:42 pm, Fowler, on the range at the time, knew he wasn’t getting into the field.

“Not knowing but being ready to go hasn’t been bad at all,” said Fowler, who got into the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines as an alternate but knew he was in the field before the week started.

About mid-morning, Fowler, as he always is, was optimism and in good spirits. He’s let his hair grow into mullet status, or as he said, “going with the flow,” and hasn’t shaved in a week. Basically, he’s been kicking back but keeping his feet firmly planted to play golf as he continues to try and bust out of a slump that has seen him winless since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“It’s been the most relaxing, easy-going week, so far,” Fowler said as he hit balls on the range. Fowler and caddie Joe Skovron worked through the delicate balance of being ready and not overworking in case another WD came through.

So Fowler would hit putts and take a break. Chip and take a break. Hit balls on the range and take a break. Each time he’d head to the locker room where plenty of couches, big-screen TVs, his peers and top-notch food provide a comfortable setting to pass time.

Fowler and his family will stay in the northeast instead of flying back to their home in Florida. Fowler will play in a pro-am Monday at Silo Ridge Field Club in Amenia, New York and then head to Connecticut for The Travelers next week.

“We’ll head over to Silo for a few days. Play, practice, relax and get ready for next week,” Fowler said. “I’m looking forward to The Travelers. The game is trending in the right direction and I’ve put in a lot of work.”