Once a contender in majors, Fowler now needs help getting in

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FILE- In this March 4, 2021, file photo, Rickie Fowler watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla. Fowler goes into the PGA Championship next week in the most pronounced slump of his career. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

There was a time when being side-by-side with Tiger Woods at a major was a good sign. That wasn't the case for Rickie Fowler, mainly because they were nowhere near a golf course.

Woods was watching the Masters from home in Florida while recovering from broken bones in his legs, the worst of more than a decade of injuries. Fowler was watching with him because for the first time in a decade he wasn't eligible to play.

At least he gets a chance in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, courtesy of a special invitation that received more attention than it warranted, mainly because of who he is.

Still to be determined is whether Fowler will be at Torrey Pines next month for the U.S. Open. He hasn't missed it since his rookie year when he didn't make it through qualifying.

“It's been humbling,” Fowler said. “For someone who's been positive, when you go this long through a low point, it tests all facets of life.”

How long?

He has gone 49 tournaments worldwide since he last won, the Phoenix Open, moving him to No. 8 in the world. He has gone 29 tournaments since he last finished in the top 10, at The American Express, that one moving him back into the top 25.

He now is No. 122, his lowest ranking in more than 11 years. He goes into the PGA Championship having missed his last two cuts. Now it's a matter of finding his way back from what can either be described as a process, a journey or a grind.