September 7, 2010 by staff
Rickie Fowler, Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin knows a thing or two about calculated risks. Three shots down in the final round of U.S. Open 1995, Pavin roared back into contention on Sunday, settling for the shot of her golf career.
With a 5-wood in hand, nursing a lead of one stroke, Pavin decided to try his luck in the position of the pin back, foregoing the option to play it safe and hope a merger of the players still left on the course. As expected, Pavin pulled from the wall, knocking in a couple of feet to get his first major championship and only time.
It was a shot that sums up his fearless nature in the field. Although the decision on Tuesday to pick up 21 years of age, Rickie Fowler on a number of veteran players was not as risky as the shot in ’95, it was still a calculated risk that had many wondering if a young rookie could handle the pressure not only playing for his country, but playing the event in Europe – a place where crowds are less hospitable.
“It just came down to feelings. I had a hunch about Rickie,” said Pavin. “He has a good record in Walker Cup, 7-1. It is a very good player. There are many very good players that I had to look at, but that’s the way I was going.”
It was definitely a selection of guts. While Fowler does not have a victory in his first year on tour, which will surely bring a new dimension to the team and that is a recklessness and exuberance of youth that could energize a U.S. team possibly facing a deeper European teams in recent history.
Although not winning any points for being reckless, it is a great quality when you’re playing on foreign soil. Listen Pavin and other former first Ryder Cuppers talk about the first time that the event guaranteed and hear horror stories about the nerves and the difficulty they had just put parity on the lawn.
Will Fowler have nerves when he hears his name called first? Sure. But just look at the way it is, I’m pretty sure he’d accept the challenge and the opportunity to prove the detractors wrong. While he is one of the four peaks Corey Pavin fact, he will undoubtedly be the most examined.
While you do not have a previous record out, his record 7-1 in Walker Cup is quite impressive. And although the Walker Cup is nowhere near the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup, the past success in match play and best ball format Fowler should give a much-needed boost of confidence.
The most I could sit here all day and debate by Fowler is a bad choice for the U.S. team, but the fact of the matter is Pavin had a gut feeling and decided to go with him. Fowler is that gut decision, if he winds up as successful as that shot in ’95 remains to be seen, but given the history of Pavin in difficult situations, I would not bet against him taking off another masterstroke.
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