Rickie Fowler to continue hectic schedule at the Phoenix Open
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 04/02/16 11:17am
Rickie Fowler is confident of bouncing back from last week's 'hiccup' at Torrey Pines by putting in a strong performance at the Phoenix Open.
Fowler followed three wins in 2015 with a dramatic victory on the European Tour's Desert Swing at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, lifting the 27-year-old to a career-high fourth in the world.
The American had already started the year strongly with a tied-third finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but suffered a rare missed cut at last week's Farmers Insurance Open after travelling through 12 time zones.
Fowler refused to blame the long journey to San Diego for his early exit and admits he's keen to respond by returning to form this week.
"Getting the win two weeks ago definitely put me in a little bit of a different mindset coming in to this year," Fowler told a pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. "I feel I'm able to go out and be a bit more aggressive, play a bit more offensively and get the job done.
"I have a lot more confident as far as coming off of now four wins in the last nine months. The game feels great. Towards the end of last year is some of the best I have ever been swinging.
"I've been playing well since the middle of last year and I'm excited to continue that. Last week was a little hiccup along the way, but looking forward to picking back up where we left off in Abu Dhabi."
The top seed this week features alongside early-season PGA Tour winners Smylie Kaufman and Kevin Kisner for the opening two rounds, while Bubba Watson tees off in the same group as defending champion Brooks Koepka.
The world No 17 claimed his first PGA Tour victory with a one-shot win last February at TPC Scottsdale, with Koepka now looking to build on a tied-third finish at the year-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
"I have a lot of positive thoughts going into this week, and I feel good about where my game is at," Koepka said. "I don't think I have ever felt better.
"I feel like my game can compete with anybody. I feel like it's that good right now, but it just needs to happen in a tournament. I feel like it's all starting to come together."
Last week's winner Brandt Snedeker makes an immediate return to action as part of a high-profile field in Arizona, as does five-time major winner Phil Mickelson after his early exit last week.
Ireland's Paul Dunne has been handed a sponsors invite after an impressive tied-13th finish on his PGA Tour debut at Torrey Pines last week, featuring alongside English-born qualifier David Skinns for the opening two rounds.
Watch the Phoenix Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home golf. Live coverage gets underway on Thursday from 2.30pm, with feature group access on the red button and Sky Sports iPad app. Or watch from £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV