Fowler upbeat despite Open near miss

AFP
US golfer Rickie Fowler leaves the 1st tee during his fourth round, on the final day of the 2014 British Open Golf Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Course in Hoylake, north west England on July 20, 2014
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US golfer Rickie Fowler leaves the 1st tee during his fourth round, on the final day of the 2014 British Open Golf Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Course in Hoylake, north west England on July 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Peter Muhly)

Hoylake (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Valiant American Rickie Fowler said he couldn't be disappointed after a superb week that saw him come within two shots of catching British Open champion Rory McIlroy and a first major title on Sunday.

The popular Californian, who has a penchant for wearing flashy orange outfits, pushed his Florida neighbor and fellow 25-year-old, all the way before ending up in a tie for second with Spaniard Sergio Garcia at Royal Liverpool on Sunday.

The two friends, shared a jovial yet highly competitive rivalry, and are destined to go into battle again as part of their respective American and European teams when the Ryder Cup takes place at Gleneagles in September.

However, McIlroy now has three majors in the bag, one of only three players to achieve that feat by the age of 25, while Fowler is still looking for his maiden victory at a Grand Slam tournament.

He is also only the third player to shoot four consecutive rounds in the 60's in an British Open and not go on to win after finishing 15 under over 72 holes.

Sweden's Jesper Parnevik suffered that fate in 1994 while two-time winner Ernie Els of South Africa is the third player, one year earlier.

American captain Tom Watson revealed earlier in the day, after shooting a final round 68, that Fowler will certainly be in his team for the biennial event when Europe will defend their title.

"Two words to sum it up, Ryder Cup," Fowler said after his runner-up finish.

"I'm definitely pleased with the way I hung in there, the way I fought it out.

"I made some great par saves and tried to give Rory a little run at the end, but just got on the gas a little too late," added Fowler who is five months older than McIlroy.

"It was a great week there, as well but Rory just kind of distanced himself from the field a bit, especially with his finish yesterday.

"It's hard to be disappointed about it, because it was such a great week and with the way I had been playing in the majors, there was some pressure to play well.

"I mentioned yesterday that it doesn't feel like a big stage. It feels like I should be here so I'm definitely pleased with it and there's plenty more to come.

"I'll take 15-under in a lot of majors and sit there and wait in the clubhouse.

"Congratulations to Rory, he played awesome and it was just kind of fun to throw a few shots at him coming in. To see him win was pretty cool.

There is still the PGA Championship to come in August and then the always popular Ryder Cup a few weeks later which gives Fowler more opportunities to reach his goals.

"Going into the year the goal was to be in contention at majors and play well and have chances to win.

"And with the good play, the long-distance goal on that was to be on the Ryder Cup team.

"With the way I've played in the majors this year, that's definitely what has given me the opportunity to represent the country and play in the Ryder Cup."

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