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Rocket Mortgage Classic review: Rickie Fowler back in the winners' circle

For the second straight week on the PGA Tour there was a player ending a long trophy drought, as Rickie Fowler claimed a win for the first time in over four years.

The American had slipped to world number 173 after last year's FedEx St. Jude Championship and there were real questions as to whether he would ever get back to his best.

Fowler had been showing positive form this year, racking up five top-10 finishes before last week's trip to Detroit Golf Club and he finally managed to get back into the winners' circle.

Having finished on -24 after 72 holes alongside Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin, three shots clear of the next closest challengers, Fowler rolled in his birdie putt at the first extra hole to seal the deal.

It is the 34-year-old's 10th PGA Tour title and his first triumph since February 2019, while this success also increases his hope of breaking his Major duck at the 2023 Open Championship this month.

The battle for the Claret Jug takes place at Royal Liverpool Golf Club from July 20th-23rd and Fowler has been boosted to +2220 to lift the trophy on Merseyside.

Fowler in Ryder Cup contention

Not only will Fowler be thinking about finally landing one of the 'big four' tournaments, he will also have a fifth Ryder Cup appearance in sight for the competition at Marco Simone Golf Club from September 29th to October 1st.

The Californian, who played for Team USA in the 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018 editions, has climbed to 16th on the qualification standings and will likely be in Zach Johnson's mind for one of his six captain's picks.

Fowler has only been on the winning side once in his four outings, that coming in 2016, but the US are strong favorites at -170 To Win Outright on Italian soil. The draw is priced at +1200 and Europe are +170 to win back the cup.

Easy courses can create drama

There has been a lot made about how some courses are too easy for professional golfers and that changes need to be made to certain venues to keep them relevant and interesting.

Discussions have also taken place about trying to limit the distance golf balls can go by around 10-15 yards, a measure that has been proposed to try and stop courses being overpowered.

At the recent Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said that TPC River Highlands was not a match for the modern player, suggesting the course had become "obsolete".

Detroit Golf Club, which has hosted the Rocket Mortgage Classic since its inaugural edition in 2019, has proven to be a birdie-fest in each running, with the 72-hole scores coming in at -25, -23, -18, -26 and -24.

And while being able to shoot such low scores may not be everybody's cup of tea, it made for a compelling watch last week and a three-player play-off to determine a winner was the icing on the cake.

Not every course on the PGA Tour needs to try and be like US Open venues, which are known for being notoriously difficult and punishing, and we should enjoy the low-scoring tournaments when they come around.

American pair continue to struggle

It may be all smiles for Fowler this week after ending his long wait for another victory, but more disappointment has hit the camps of both Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.

Finau was the defending champion at Detroit Golf Club but he failed to make the cut in a subdued performance, missing the weekend mark of -4 by three shots.

Since winning the Mexico Open at the end of April, the American hasn't finished higher than T23 in his next six outings and he has slipped to 18th in the Ryder Cup standings.

Thomas has also been slipping down the qualification ladder, as he occupies 11th position, and it is a case of back to the drawing board following his poor showing in Detroit.

Having gone into the tournament off the back of a positive T9 at the Travelers, the 30-year-old carded rounds of 76 and 69 to miss the cut on +1 and leave him with more questions to answer.

Thomas has now dropped to 20th in the world, the first time he has been outside the top 19 since 2016, and his odds of +2800 To Win Outright the 2023 Open Championship looks short based on this form.

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