Rickie Fowler happy to go unnoticed at The Masters in a bid to secure his first major

Rickie Fowler is flying under the radar in the build-up to the 79th Masters and it bothers him not in the least.

Rickie Fowler, right, alongside friend and rival Rory McIlroy at the 2015 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships. Fowler believes McIlroy deserves to be favourite for The Masters but is confident in his own chances. Andrew Redington / Getty
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Rickie Fowler is flying under the radar in the build-up to the 79th Masters and it bothers him not in the least.

Long touted as the best US player to emerge since Tiger Woods, the Californian, 26, had a superb 2014 with top-five finishes in the four majors — just the third man to achieve that feat after Jack Nicklaus and Woods.

But he ended the year still without a major title win and like many before him, the question marks over his ability to close out the big wins are starting to be raised.

On top of that, Fowler, by his own admission, has had a poor season so far with just one top-10 finish in seven tournaments, hence the lack of backing for him to finally win a major later this week.

“That’s fine with me,” he said of his lack of support.

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“I haven’t played particularly well to start out the year. I haven’t had the performance that I would have liked. I haven’t had very good finishes.

“But I’m excited for this week. Doesn’t matter what the odds are or favourites or anything like that.

“A couple more practice sessions, maybe go play nine in the morning, and I’ll be ready to go.

“I don’t care if I’m a favourite or not or if the odds are with me or against me. I’m going to go out there and try to win myself a major.”

One of the main obstacles standing in his way will once again be close friend Rory McIlroy. It was the Northern Irishman who denied Fowler in the last two majors, the British Open and the PGA Championship, and who then handed him a 5 and 4 drubbing in the final-day singles at the Ryder Cup.

And McIlroy will start the tournament as a strong favourite to make it three major wins in a row.

“He’s obviously the best player in the world for a reason,” Fowler said.

“I know he struggled a bit for a year or so. But the year he put together last year, winning two, it’s tough to do.

“I was in a position where I had a chance in a couple, but they are hard to win.

“He’s obviously playing well and he has shown that he can play well here at Augusta, and I know he’s just as ready as anyone else to go out and play well this week.

“He’s going to be tough to beat if he’s on top of his game. But I don’t think no one is going to lay down by any means.”

Fowler will play alongside Jason Day and Sergio Garcia in a final grouping today that looks sure to draw a big crowd.

“Really looking forward to the pairing ... see if we can get some momentum going,” he said.

“I know the three of us can play well around here. It’s fun to be able to feed off each other and play with guys that you like.”