Masters 2018: Rickie Fowler relishing mental battle as he bids to break major duck

0
54

Rickie Fowler admits he faces a mental battle to turn near-misses into major championship glory.

Fowler finished in the top five in all four majors in 2014 and was fifth in both the US Open and US PGA last year, but could only finish 11th in the Masters after going into the final round just a shot off the lead.

“I’ve been fortunate to be in contention here a couple of times and Saturdays and Sundays are special when you do get that chance to be in there,” the 29-year-old American said.

“We put ourselves in a great position last year going into the back nine. I didn’t have the back nine that I wanted, but it’s fun to be in the mix when the wind starts to die down and it starts to get really quiet and then you get the loud roars.

“To be there to see some friends win, whether it’s Bubba (Watson)’s play-off on 10, seeing Sergio (Garcia) get it done in the play-off coming up 18, I would love to have my chance at it.

“This being my eighth Masters I have plenty of experience, know how to play the golf course, it’s just about piecing it together. I think it’s more of a mental challenge than it is a physical challenge this week.

“For me I just need to do a good job of working well with my caddie and making sure that we’re choosing the right shot and committing to it, staying focused all four rounds every shot. I know that I can hit every shot that I need to on this golf course, I can putt well, and that’s obviously needed here.

“So the big thing is everything that happens prior to actually pulling the trigger. I need to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind and trusting what we’re trying to do and not second-guessing anything.”

Asked about the impact of seeing his friends Watson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas win majors, Fowler added: “It’s fun to see your friends win. It’s fun to see them play well.

“But it also is kind of a kick in the butt to get yourself to keep pushing forward. You want to be in that position and if your buddies decide to be there, it’s a bonus, a nice touch.”

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.