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."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition