Rickie Fowler was visibly emotional following his runner-up finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.
The American – playing in front of his family that included his World War Two surviving grandpa – blew a two-stroke lead on the final two holes and went on to lose after four playoff holes to a resurgent Hideki Matsuyama.
“It’s gonna hurt,” quipped Fowler on pgatour.com, who boasts a tattoo of his grandfather’s name on his left bicep.
“Because I felt like I had it, especially with the way I was swinging. I’ll be alright. With how good I’m playing, I know I can win. That’s the hard part.
“I mean, the hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and grandpa who haven’t seen me win. But I will be able to hang with them tonight.”
Fowler’s victory march began to unravel when he suffered a terrible stroke of luck on the drivable par four 17th.
He absolutely nailed his drive and the ball pitched on a downslope of the green, shooting forward and rolling into the water out the back of the green…some 360 yards from the tee box.
“Usually don’t expect it to hit on the downslope and then go 360,” added Fowler.
“So that was a bit unfortunate. I hit it right on line, hit it exactly where I was looking. That’s kind of the unfortunate part, to hit the shots that I did and to pull them off, and then it kind of backfired there.”
While he carded a bogey, Matsuyama holed a birdie putt to leave them all-square going down the 18th.
Both players birdied the final hole and then shared the spoils on the 18th again, sending them back to the par-four tenth. After another half, it was to the dreaded 17th, where Fowler opted for safety and pulled his three wood out-of-bounds. He would go on to make a bogey, cuing celebrations from the Matsuyama camp.
Fowler has been in a purple patch of late, with four top-five finishes from his last five events, including a win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.