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Saturday 3 December 2016

Rickie Fowler still waiting to make step-up to join rivals at top table

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Rickie Fowler admits he needs to win a major championship before he belongs in the same category as fellow young stars Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

Fowler won the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May and comes into this week's Open Championship on the back of victory in the Scottish Open at Gullane on Sunday.

The 26-year-old also finished in the top five in all four majors in 2014, but is well aware that 21-year-old countryman Spieth has won the Masters and US Open this year, while the injured McIlroy is the Open and US PGA champion.

Asked how he could close the gap to Spieth and McIlroy, Fowler said: "A good start would be to become a major champion and that's something that I've always dreamed of and have wanted to accomplish.

"Jordan has been playing amazing golf and Rory has been doing that for quite some time. I do have some work to do. I need to continue winning. I think that's the biggest thing, and putting myself in positions to win. I can't worry about them or other players, just got to keep working hard and focus on what I need to do and take care of my business.

"I would like to make everything better. I mean, that's just how golf is. I think you're always working to become better. All the guys out here, there's no reason to ever settle.

"You're always trying to tighten things up and continue to become a better player. You can never master this game. That's what's so great about it. Even when you are the best player in the world or winning tournaments, there's always more to be done and more to be won."

Fowler played the last six holes of the Players in six under par before beating Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a play-off, while he birdied three of the last four holes to snatch victory from Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar on Sunday.

And he credits taking part in the regular pre-tournament "money" games with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker - all four men are coached by Butch Harmon - as one of the reasons behind his recent success.

"Some of it definitely goes back to playing Tuesday games with Phil and the boys, being in situations where you have to step up and make something happen," Fowler added.

"You're playing against some pretty good players when we're doing that, and you have to make things happen in those games.

"It's definitely a learning process, learning to win. It's not easy out here playing against the best players in the world, and it's nice to finally have a multiple-win season."

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