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Rickie Fowler targets Ryder Cup return for Team USA after PGA Tour win at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Rickie Fowler birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit on Sunday, giving him his first win since 2019; Fowler is targeting a fifth Ryder Cup appearance for Team USA this September

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Rickie Fowler won the Rocket Mortgage Classic in dramatic fashion, claiming his first PGA Tour win since 2019 after a three-way play-off.

Rickie Fowler has set his sights on a Ryder Cup return for Team USA after ending his four-and-a-half-year winless run on the PGA Tour at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Fowler produced a bogey-free 68 on the final day at Detroit Golf Club before defeating Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin in a play-off, securing him a sixth PGA Tour victory and first since the WM Phoenix Open in February 2019.

The 34-year-old's success completes the long rise back to the winner's circle, having slumped to world No 185 as recently as last September, with Fowler enjoying top-20 finishes in nine of his previous 10 PGA Tour starts ahead of his dramatic victory.

DETROIT, MI - JULY 02: PGA golfer Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the 5th hole on July 2, 2023, during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image: Rickie Fowler will move back inside the world's top 25 after his impressive PGA Tour victory in Detroit

Fowler's win moves him to 12th in the Ryder Cup qualification standings, with the American now targeting a fifth appearance for Team USA this September after failing to feature in the record-breaking 2021 contest.

"Definitely one of the main goals this year was to win," Fowler said in his post-tournament press conference. "Outside of that was obviously playing well and doing what I've been doing to make it to the Tour Championship.

"One of the end goals was to be a part of the Ryder Cup team and that's still what we're focusing on right now. Been a part of a handful and they're very special weeks, so that's where I have kind of my eyes."

Rickie Fowler of the US reacts after making a birdie putt on the 2nd tee during his fourball match on the second day of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, outside Paris, France, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)..
Image: Rickie Fowler made his last Ryder Cup appearance in 2018, having also featured in 2010, 2014 and 2016

Fowler had made back-to-back top-10 finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge and The Memorial before missing out after disappointing Sundays at the US Open and Travelers Championship, leaving him plenty of recent experiences to draw on during the final round of his victory.

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"Any situation prior helps, but the more recent, the better," Fowler added. "I've been in contention plenty of times and I've won, and I've also not played well or been close and not been able to convert.

Rickie Fowler, left, is hugged by Collin Morikawa, center, and Adam Hadwin after a playoff hole on the 18th green during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at Detroit Country Club, Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Image: Rickie Fowler (left) defeated Collin Morikawa (centre) and Adam Hadwin (right) in a play-off to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic

"Definitely over the last couple weeks with Los Angeles [US Open] and last week [Travelers Championship] I felt better and played better, just didn't score.

"The last two weekends definitely helped going into today, just know that I didn't have to be perfect, just had to keep doing what we've been doing. Like I said, I felt like we did a really good job of it other than not really converting a few opportunities there on the back nine."

Is Gooch in Ryder Cup "discussion" after latest LIV victory?

USA Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said during the PGA Championship that it was "premature" to discuss the prospect of LIV players featuring in his team September, although now has that as a realistic prospect after Brooks Koepka's major victory last month.

Koepka is likely to feature in one of the automatic qualification places to play in Rome, with LIV players remaining eligible despite not playing on the PGA Tour, while Talor Gooch believes he should be considered for a Ryder Cup debut after his impressive season in the LIV Golf League.

Talor Gooch of RangeGoats GC celebrates with caddie Malcolm Baker after winning on the 18th green during the final round of LIV Golf Andaluc..a at the Real Club Valderrama on Sunday, July 02, 2023 in San Roque, Spain. (Photo by LIV Golf via AP)
Image: Talor Gooch is a three-time winner on the LIV Golf League this season

"If apples were to apples, the guy leading the FedExCup and the guy leading the LIV standings, it's like -- I think my play has shown that it's at least worth a discussion," Gooch said after his second round at the LIV Golf event at Valderrama.

Gooch went on to claim a one-shot victory over Bryson DeChambeau, his third win of the season, with the 31-year-old hoping to be in consideration for a captain's pick when Johnson finalises his team next month.

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Rory McIlroy says Brooks Koepka deserves to be on the United States team for the Ryder Cup but his feelings are different for the European players on the LIV tour

"The professional golf world has been in a crazy place over the last 365 days," Gooch said after his win. "I've always dreamed of being on a Ryder Cup.

"Before making the decision to come to LIV, Max Homa was one of my good buddies on PGA Tour, and we talked about -- my wife and I did our honeymoon in Italy, and we did Rome, and he and his wife couldn't do their honeymoon in Italy, so we had always had the talk the last couple years of, well, we're just going to have to go team up there and go do it.

"Obviously it's out of my hands. It's out of my control. But the one thing I can control is playing good golf. I'll continue to do that to the best of my abilities, and hopefully things work out."

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