Sports | August 19, 2022 11:12 am

Will Rickie Fowler Be the Next PGA Tour Star to Defect to LIV Golf Series?

The 33-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour since 2019 and has fallen to No. 173 in the Official World Golf Ranking

Rickie Fowler watches his tee shot during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Rickie Fowler certainly fits the profile of an LIV golfer.
Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty

Ranked at No. 92 in the Official World Golf Ranking heading into this season, Rickie Fowler does not have a finish inside the top 20 in 2022 and has missed the cut in eight of the 18 events he has played this season, plunging him all the way down to No. 173.

A fan favorite despite his shaky play, the 33-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour since February 2019 and has not displayed the form that vaulted him to stardom for years. After having failed to qualify for the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs during last week’s St. Jude Championship, Fowler is not competing at the BMW Championship this week — something he shares in common with all the LIV Golf Series defectors who’ve been banned from PGA Tour events.

Fowler, whose wife Allison Stokke had their first child in November, would certainly appear to be a prime candidate to join up with LIV Golf and secure himself a big payday that is more based on popularity than play. And, with LIV Golf expected to announce five new signings including British Open champion and World No.2 Cameron Smith after the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it is possible Fowler has already decided to make the jump.

Formerly ranked No. 4 in the world, Fowler has not pledged allegiance to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and has been critical of how the circuit handled the challenge from the upstart series. “I’ve told the Tour and Jay when I’ve met with them that I don’t think they have handled it very well at all,” Fowler told Golfweek. “A lot of the stuff that has happened in the last six months to a year and is starting to happen, to me they are reacting to it versus when the talks of Premier Golf League and LIV came about is when they should have been proactive and gotten in front of it.”

Though he didn’t say how much, Fowler confirmed to Golfweek that he was presented with “a mind-boggling number” to jump ship to LIV. However, the five-time Tour winner insists he still wants to be a PGA player despite his issues with Monahan and his handling of LIV Golf. “This is where I plan to be,” he said of the Tour. “I would say there is stuff in the works now as far as the things the Tour is trying to do to evolve with kind of modernizing and I feel like they are making the right steps now.”

Of course, money has a way of changing minds and it didn’t take long for former PGA Tour defender Brooks Koepka to switch his tune and defect to LIV Golf once a briefcase of Saudi cash ended up in his possession. If Fowler does make the jump, he wouldn’t be the first to alter course due to cash and he won’t be the last.

“Will Fowler continue to resist the lure of LIV?” The Palm Beach Post asks. “Sounds like that will depend on the PGA Tour.” And money. Lots and lots of money.