What we learned at Erin Hills: Will Fowler and Matsuyama get a better chance?
Same old, same old for Casey
For two days he strutted around Erin Hills looking like he owned the place. He held a share of the halfway lead. And he opened up on Saturday with a birdie four. Was this at last the time that boy became man? No it wasn’t. That was as good as it got. A treble-bogey seven on the 3rd derailed the Englishman and he never looked like recovering.
He’s played on three Ryder Cup teams (though most recently nine years ago). He’s risen as high as No. 3 in the world rankings. He’s posted top 10s at all four majors during his 34 appearances to date. He’s been a consistent feature on PGA Tour leaderboards for 15 years now.
Yet he has won only one once on American soil – at the 2009 Shell Houston Open. It’s a most odd statistic.
Fleetwood can mix it with the best
His career trajectory has not, as is so often the case, been a smooth one. (You can read our recent interview with him here for some context.)
In summary, the 2009 Walker Cupper came to prominence when we won the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles four years ago. By 2015, he’s worked his way into the world top 50. Then he began to struggle and as recently as a year ago, he had slumped to 188th in the world.
In January, he recorded his second tour win, against a high-quality field in Abu Dhabi and in March he finished second at the WGC in Mexico. This, though, was different again as he briefly led the US Open towards the end of the third round.
The Southport 26-year-old couldn’t quite keep it up but nor did he fade away, continuing to hit those classy held-off iron shots throughout the breezy final day.
The highest compliment you can pay him is that he did not look out of place in this company.
One thing’s for sure – he won’t lack for support at Birkdale next month, either on the course or with the punters.