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May 28 2013

5:25 PM

Fowler says 'golf happened' last year

Rickie Fowler talks with the media prior to the Memorial Tournament.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

DUBLIN, Ohio -- At least Rickie Fowler was up-close-and-personal to one of best shots of the 2012 season.

He was standing beside the 16th green at Muirfield Village on Sunday as Tiger Woods plopped a delicate 50-foot chip onto the green that went tracking toward the hole, the cheers escalating with every revolution. When the ball found the bottom of the cup, Woods, who celebrated with a mighty fist pump, was tied for the lead -- and he went on to win the Memorial Tournament for the fifth time.

"That was pretty special to see," Fowler said.

But Fowler, who had finished solo second to Justin Rose at the 2010 Memorial, started the final round with similar aspirations as his playing partner. He was three strokes off the lead held by Spencer Levin but Fowler's hopes of victory had evaporated by the time he made the turn in 40 and eventually signed for an 84 that dropped him from third to 52nd.

"I've made a lot of birdies here, and unfortunately I've made a lot of others, too," Fowler said on Tuesday afternoon. "I've been in two good positions here, one when I lost to Rosie, obviously he played well on Sunday there. And I was in a great position last year with Tiger and golf happened."

In a wierd way, though, Fowler benefitted from the clinic Woods put on that day. Fowler remembers trying to "stay out of his way" but he learned a lot from seeing the way Woods conducted himself in the heat of competition. He put those lessons to work at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard earlier this year, too.

"It was fun to see what he did there, how he handles himself coming down the stretch," Fowler said. "Obviously I was able to sit there and watch, being out of it. ...

"Definitely helped me at Bay Hill earlier this year, where I put myself in a great position, two back with three to play and just ended up catching the shot a little heavy (that went into the water). But it was a little bit of a difference between shooting 84 here against Tiger final round and then actually showing him I was around at Bay Hill and ready to play down the stretch. 

"But golf is a learning process and that 84 was part of it."

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