Honda Classic 2021: All Eyes on Rickie Fowler as a Major Career Streak Is on the Line

Published 03/17/2021, 5:49 AM EDT
Mar 4, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Rickie Fowler hits his drive on the 18th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports


The Honda Classic always proves to be a stunning tournament and it will be the same this time around too. There are several players entering the field this year and the major watch will be on defending champion Sungjae Im and 2017 victor Rickie Fowler.

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Of course, Sungjae Im will under be tremendous pressure this year having to defend his crown against a number of competitors. In fact, no player except Jack Nicklaus (1977-78) has won the tournament in consecutive years. So yes, the odds are against the South Korean. 

As for Fowler, his situation is a bit different. The vibrant Oklahoma State alum has not been at his best for quite a few months, which can be challenging for any professional. From being hailed as one of the best in the world a year ago, Fowler has quickly lost his shine on the PGA Tour. 

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Rickie Fowler to tee-off with defending champion Sungjae Im on Thursday

What’s more important for Fowler is to get off to a good start at the Honda Classic this year. As for the opening round, the 32-year-old will tee-off with Sungjae Im and Keith Mitchell from the first tee at starting 1:04 PM on Thursday. 

Rickie Fowler has not made a Top-10 finish in his last 21 tournament starts and has missed nine cuts. This is a major sign that he needs to get back into the groove which once took the PGA Tour by storm. 

Fowler won the 2017 Honda Classic by shooting 12-under par through four rounds but was cut after 36 holes in the 2020 edition. It is indeed frustrating to go through a rough patch, and Fowler admitted that it has been taking a toll on his personal life as well. 

Why Fowler needs to push for a win at The 2021 Honda Classic

A more important thing that is on the line is Fowler’s participation at The 2021 Masters. His current ranking is not high enough to get him an invite to play at the Augusta National Golf Club this year. 

Fowler is currently ranked 81st in the World and he needs to be in the Top 50 to secure an invite to The 2021 Masters. A lot is at stake for the five-time PGA Tour winner as he’s never missed a Major since 2010.

Mar 11, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the 9th hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Rickie Fowler has made 41 consecutive starts at Major tournaments, but all of it could end if he fails to qualify for The 2021 Masters. The solution for him is simple, there are four tournaments that are scheduled to take place on the tour before The Masters, and Fowler has to win one of them.

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Another alternative would be to climb into the Top 50 of the World Golf Rankings, and Fowler has to be on top of his game to achieve that as well. So far, he’s missed the cut of three of the five recent tournaments that he played. 

The Honda Classic starts tomorrow and Fowler would be keen to put up a good performance. If he can’t win any PGA Tour event leading up to the 2021 Masters, the California native would have to gain Top 10 finishes at every event he plays to keep the Augusta hopes alive. 

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Read Also: THROWBACK: Serena Williams Was Embarrassed in Front of Tiger Woods at The Honda Classic

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Arjun Athreya

1836 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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