AUGUSTA -- In 2014, Rickie Fowler entered the final round of the Masters two shots behind the leaders. He ended up making three bogeys, including one on the par-5 second hole in the final round, and finished tied for fifth.
However, he got to see his friend Bubba Watson win.
A year later, his buddy Jordan Spieth dominated the field and ran away with the green jacket, winning by four shots.
Last year, Fowler was tied for the lead after the second round and was only a shot back after the third round. It fell apart after the turn on Sunday. He went 3 over on the back nine, but he got to see his friend Sergio Garcia win his first major in a playoff.
Heading into his eighth appearance at the Masters, Fowler's ready to change the narrative.
"It's about time we have a real shot," Fowler said.
"To be there to see some friends win, whether it's Bubba's playoff on 10, seeing Sergio get it done in the playoff coming up 18, I would love to have my chance at it."
Fowler feels his game is well-suited for Augusta National, and so far he has a strong resume to back that up. He's just lacking that signature moment to allow him to slip on the green jacket. Having finished in the top 15 four times on the PGA Tour already this season -- and winning the Hero World Challenge, which is an unofficial event -- it's more a matter of the mental component than the golf side this week.
"For me I just need to do a good job of working well with my caddie and making sure that we're choosing the right shot and committing to it, staying focused all four rounds every shot," Fowler said. "I think that the last couple weeks I've been working on stuff, whether it's swing and also on the mental side to make sure that we're ready to go, and everything's been trending the right direction."
As for this week, Fowler will likely rely on his knowledge of the greens at Augusta National. On three different occasions in the past five years he's ranked No.1 in putts per round for the tournament. He even pointed out the strong putting performance in the first round of the 2013 Masters, which allowed him to recover from double bogeys on No. 1 and No. 10 to shoot 68.
"I can make putts here," Fowler said. "Obviously you got to put yourself in the right positions. So when you do that, there's plenty of putts to be made, but you put yourself in the wrong positions, and you can three and four-putt these greens pretty quickly."
This time he's hoping that putting will mean that the highlight of his Sunday in Augusta won't be him celebrating his friend's accomplishment.
"I want to beat my friends when they're playing well," Fowler said. "Like you said, it is a motivation factor in a way. Seeing JT and Jordan and Bubba, seeing Sergio win here last year, it is fun to see. But it also is kind of a kick in the butt to get yourself to kind of keep pushing forward."
This article is written by Eric Russell from Aiken Standard, S.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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