Rickie Fowler’s Career-Worst PGA Tour Season Puts Him in Grave Danger of Missing the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the First Time

The 2021 PGA Tour season has been a year of firsts for Rickie Fowler, but not in the way he hoped.

Fowler failed to automatically qualify for three of the year’s four major championships for the first time since he became a full-time PGA Tour member in 2010. He’s fallen outside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since his rookie season. And now, he’s in grave danger of missing out on the FedEx Cup playoffs for — you guessed it — the first time ever.

Rickie Fowler in the midst of his career-worst PGA Tour season

Rickie Fowler might miss the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time in his career.
Rickie Fowler looks on during a practice round for The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf | Club Warren Little/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Ever since Fowler became a full-time member of the PGA Tour in 2010, he’s been one of the most consistent players in the world. The stylish golfer quickly jumped into the top 50 in the OWGR as a rookie, and he reached as high as No. 4 by 2016.

But Fowler dropped back outside the top 50 at the end of last season, and his freefall has only gotten worse in 2021.

A few months ago, Fowler dropped to as low as No. 128 in the world, which was his worst ranking in over a decade. Through 22 events played this season, he’s missed eight cuts and has recorded just five top-25 finishes and one top-10. He’s never gone a full season without at least one top-five finish, but that streak is in jeopardy this year.

Fowler failed to automatically qualify for the Masters, PGA Championship, and U.S. Open this season for the first time ever. He only snuck into the field at the PGA thanks to a special exemption, but he didn’t get so lucky for the other two majors.

The 32-year-old’s hopes of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs are now hanging by a thread.

Fowler in grave danger of missing the FedEx Cup playoffs

Fowler has reached the FedEx Cup playoffs every year since he became a full-time PGA Tour member. He’s made it all the way to the TOUR Championship at East Lake six times over the last 10 years, and he’s finished as high as fourth in the season-long race for the cup.

With only three weeks remaining in the regular season, Fowler sits in a perilous position at 124th in the FedEx Cup standings, just two places away from missing the playoffs entirely.

If Fowler falls below the 125-man threshold before The Northern Trust on Aug. 19, he’ll cap off his career-worst season in embarrassing fashion.

Fowler: “I know I’m close”

Fowler is coming off a missed cut, a T32, and a T53 in his last three starts on Tour, but he still believes his game is close to clicking for the first time in a while. Ahead of this weekend’s 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, he sounded confident that he’ll be able to round back into form to finish the season.

“It feels like it’s obviously always heading the right way in where we’ve been going. But I know I’m close,” Fowler told reporters Wednesday. “It’s just not all coming together just yet. If you talk to other players or anyone that’s kind of been through some sort of ups and downs, it’s how golf goes, it’s how life goes.

“Sometimes it’s one putt, one swing. It’s been nice over the last few months to finally at least see some more consistency or at least heading in the right direction. So, I’m happy about where we are, but we still have a little way to go to be where we want to be.”

The clock is ticking.

All stats courtesy of PGA Tour

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