Rickie Fowler aware of European threat at The Open

American Rickie Fowler admits the form of Europe's golfers has given him and his compatriots a "kick in the butt" with Rory McIlroy's US Open win last month only adding to their difficulties.

The 22-year-old's career shares numerous similarities with that of golf's newest superstar but he falls well short when it comes to success.



McIlroy claimed his first major title, and third professional victory, in some style at Congressional a month ago.



The Northern Irishman racked up Europe's third major win in five events, during which time the United States has not been in the most elite of winners' circles.



America's last major champion was Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters and that drought, coupled with their loss of the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor - which Fowler was involved in, has left those Stateside with much catching up to do.



Fowler will get the chance to do his bit for the Stars and Stripes when he tees off with McIlroy and three-time major winner Ernie Els tomorrow in the marquee group of the first two rounds of the Open at Royal St George's.



And he is hoping some of the Northern Irishman's stardust will rub off on him as his highest finish in the six majors he has played was 14th in last year's Open at St Andrews.



"I would like to match him at some point. It is a good friendly rivalry we have," the 22-year-old told Press Association Sport.



"We are good buddies, we enjoy being around each other but at the end of the day we are both trying to push each other and beat each other and that is good.



"He is pushing me to play my best and work on my game and obviously I hope I can catch up to him.



"It is pretty cool on my part to be compared to him. We are the same age, have similar playing styles as we are both fairly aggressive and have fun on the course and hopefully we can play for a long time together.



"The Europeans are definitely playing well right now. They have a lot of the top players in the world and they are winning tournaments and in a way that is just motivating us Americans to step up and play better golf.



"They are playing better than us, have more wins and more majors in the last few years so that is kind of a kick in the butt to get us into gear.



"There is a rivalry but it is more friendly than people think. The last night of the Ryder Cup we were all hanging out after they beat us."



In many ways Fowler can be regarded as America's equivalent of McIlroy.



They are both the same age and were in opposing Walker Cup teams in 2007, with Fowler triumphing over his rival in the Sunday morning foursomes.



McIlroy turned professional immediately afterwards but Fowler played in another Walker Cup two years later before leaving the amateur ranks.



Their paths crossed again as Ryder Cup rookies last year when this time the Northern Irishman finished on the winning team, although Fowler controversially won the Rookie of the Year award over his European counterpart.



Fowler is regarded as being the leader of the next generation of American stars, a pressure he admits he has to take in his stride.



"It comes along with the territory if I want to become one of the best players in the world," he added.



"There are a lot of great young players in the US from the ages of 16 to 30.



"We have a good group of players so hopefully we can pick it up and get the Americans back up where we want to be."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?