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Back9’s Top-10 Stories of 2015: No. 7, Rickie Fowler’s Breakout Season

With less than 10 days remaining in 2015, golf.swingbyswing.com is counting down the top-10 golf stories of 2015, one per day until New Years Eve. The stories’ place on this list are a result of a criteria set forth by the writer based upon the impact each had on the golf world this year. Here, at No. 7, Rickie Fowler’s Breakout Season.

Rickie Fowler is a lot of things, but what he wasn’t until 2015 was a bonafide golfing superstar. Billed as all flash and no substance, Fowler did his best to shed the perception that he was the Anna Kournikova of golf — a marketer’s dream, but without the necessary success in the athletic pantheon to deserve it. Fairly or unfairly, Fowler was looked at as an over-publicized player who didn’t have the necessary game to back up his audacious clothes and multimillion dollar endorsement deals.

Never mind the fact that Fowler was a celebrated amateur, an All-American and the first-ever freshman NCAA Player of the Year at Oklahoma State. And forget the fact that despite the open space in his trophy case, Fowler hasn’t dropped outside of the top-60 in the Official World Golf Rankings since he entered it in May of 2010. While we’re at it, let’s discount the fact that Fowler had one of the best major seasons of all-time in 2014.

The writing has been on the wall: Rickie Fowler was the real deal and it was just a matter of time before his breakthrough comes. Yet, when Golf.com released one of their anonymous polls in the lead up to the U.S. Open, Fowler’s name was atop the “most overrated” category.

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Chalk it up to jealously, misperception of talent or simply Fowler’s lack of wins — regardless of how inaccurate that line of thinking was — the poll inspired detractors and supporters to clash. However, in just a few short weeks, Fowler put the question to rest when he showed steel resolve down the stretch at TPC Sawgrass.

Fowler backed up the biggest win of his career with two more in 2015 — the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the Deutsche Bank Championship. Cashing more than $6 million in on-course earnings in 2015, the three wins were worth much more to Fowler and his reputation.

In 2015, Fowler graduated from the poster boy for cashing checks without winning to a contender with major championship aspirations.

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Back9′s Top-10 Stories of 2015:

No. 10: The Patrick Reed Saga

No. 9: The Emergence of Bryson DeChambeau

No. 8: Rory McIlroy’s Soccer Kickabout

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