Fresh off his gig as America’s man about the Olympics in Rio, Rickie Fowler will have another shot at representing the Stars and Stripes, this one Down Under.
Fowler will compete for the United States at November’s World Cup of Golf, replacing his pal Bubba Watson as the top-ranked American, it was announced Tuesday. Watson opted to withdraw for “scheduling and personal reasons” from the event, which will be contested at Kingston Heath Golf Club in the famed sandbelt region of suburban Melbourne, Australia.
Fowler selected Jimmy Walker, the reigning PGA champion and another of his homies, to be his partner in the two-man team event. Fowler and Walker have previously partnered in the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2015 Presidents Cup, compiling a combined 1-2-3 record in those outings.
After a strong start in 2016 that included a victory in Abu Dhabi and a playoff loss in Phoenix, Fowler has played pedestrian golf for much of the year. He was in Greensboro, N.C., last week trying to cultivate a positive impression with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, but he gained no ground in the standings after a T22 finish at the Wyndham Championship.
Currently ranked 12th, the 27-year-old Californian is on the outside looking in for this year’s American squad, the eight automatic qualifiers for which will be determined after The Barclays on Sunday. If Fowler is unable to conjure any magic at Bethpage Black, site of this weekend’s first FedEx Cup playoff event, or convince Love to pick him for the squad that will take on Europe at Hazeltine National next month, at least he’ll have a trip to Australia to look forward to.