Rickie Fowler is reportedly among the participants to receive a special invitation to the play in the 2021 PGA Championship next month at Kiawah’s Ocean Course, eliminating the questions as to whether he could qualify on his own in the coming weeks. Fowler could make the field thanks to his 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team exemption, but only if he was ranked inside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking by the May 10 cutoff. Currently, Fowler sits at No. 111 and was pacing to missing his second straight major championship. Prior to last month’s Masters, Fowler had qualified for every major championship since the 2010 U.S. Open. Golf Channel’s Will Gray reported that Fowler and John Catlin, currently No. 82 in the world rankings, are receiving invitations “based on their performances, playing records and OWGR position.” One huge bonus for Fowler is that the opportunity to play in the PGA Championship represents a chance to qualify for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, something he has not yet done. Fowler is qualified for the Open Championship in July, but to arrive at Royal St. George’s with that being his first major championship of the year would certainly be a disappointment who as recently as 2019 was turning in multiple top-10 finishes in major championships.
In 2014, Fowler became the third player in major championship history to finish in the top five of all four tournaments, joining Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. He found strong form again a few years later with two top-fives in 2017, a runner-up finish at the 2018 Masters and two top-10s in 2019 at the Masters and The Open. He was a top-10 player in the world rankings after the 2019 PGA Championship, but has recorded just two top-10s in 29 starts across 2020 and 2021 in this free-fall to outside the top 100.