Can we stop calling Rickie Fowler overrated?
I want to preface this with the defining the difference between overrated and underachieving:
Overrated: have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.
Underachiever: a person who fails to achieve his or her potential or does not do as well as expected.
Rickie Fowler is not overrated, he has just underachieved in his career based upon the expectations that were (maybe unfairly) placed upon him. He burst onto the scene as an orange-wearing, shaggy haired kid coming off of a successful amateur career that included the 2008 Ben Hogan award. After some strong performances to start his career, many saw a future multi-major winner, and companies saw a marketable superstar.
The turning point on these expectations came in 2014, when he Top 5’d all 4 majors – an outstanding achievement to say the least. Almost 5 years after his T3 at the PGA Championship, most would have expected at least one major by now. And while he put his best foot forward at the 2018 Masters, that still hasn’t happened yet. In fact, his win this past Sunday in Phoenix was only his 5th win on the PGA Tour (plus 2 European Tour events and Tiger’s Hero World Challenge event, which counts too I guess).
But that doesn’t mean Rickie Fowler is overrated. Rickie has 8 top 5s in Major Championships since 2011, has made over $34 million on the PGA Tour, ( 23rd all time) and he is still only 30 years old. Rickie has made millions in endorsement deals, is a fan favourite on tour, and his philanthropic efforts are admirable. He has two decades to achieve the goals that he has set for himself, and that the public has set for him.
Rickie has absolutely underachieved thus far when it comes to winning golf tournaments, but he is not an overrated golfer. He has a beautiful swing, is an excellent putter, and has performed strongly against the best of the best for almost a decade now. The WM was a tournament that he had been chasing for years, and had let slip before, and I think that it’s going to springboard into a strong season for Rickie. It wasn’t pretty on Sunday, but the best golfers find a way to get it done even when they don’t have their best.
As a collective, it’s time for us to stop calling Rickie Fowler overrated.
PS – If you haven’t been on the Matt Wolff is going to be a superstar train yet, I forgive you. But if you’re not after this past weekend, there is no excuse. More on that in the future.