Fowler heads to Scottsdale confident of further strides


Rickie Fowler heads into this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open confident he can make further strides, following an impressive 2015 season, as he seeks a maiden major title in 2016.

Fowler is one of a number of big names in a stellar field at TPC Scottsdale, with a selection of major winners set to compete for the title in Arizona.

Open winner Zach Johnson has been grouped with five-time major champion Phil Mickelson and Jason Dufner, who won USPGA Championship back in 2013.

Bubba Watson will play alongside Brooks Koepka, the 25-year-old seeking to retain the title after beating the double Masters champion, Ryan Palmer and Hideki Matsuyama by one stroke in 2015.

Fowler, meanwhile, will go round the course with Kevin Kisner and Smylie Kaufman and has plenty of reason for confidence following his results in 2015 and his start to the new season.

Although he struggled to perform in majors, Fowler won The Players Championship, Scottish Open and Deutsche Bank Championship last year.

Victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last month provides more hope that one of golf's perennial nearly-men can break into the ranks of the major winners.

Fowler - who finished tied second at the U.S. Open and The Open and tied third at the USPGA Championship in 2014, said: "Getting the win two weeks ago [in Abu Dhabi] definitely put me in a little bit of a different mindset coming into this year than I have been pretty much all the years before then.

"Feel like I'm able to go out and be a bit more aggressive, play a bit more offensively, get the job done.

"The game feels great. Toward the end of last year is some of the best I have ever been swinging. That's what's exciting about it. I have been playing well, but I know that I can keep getting better."

Fowler missed the cut at a rain-affected Farmers Insurance Open having flown straight to San Diego following his victory in Abu Dhabi.

But he said of his performance: "I felt like last week I still wasn't - I wasn't far off. I mean, a few putts go in and I'm actually in a good position.

"I love this event, and I definitely embrace the crowd, the atmosphere. You can definitely use it to your advantage if you're playing well and kind of feed off the crowd's energy."