Here's why Rickie Fowler was benched on Saturday at the 2023 Ryder Cup

Photo: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

ROME – Why was Rickie Fowler benched on Saturday?

The 34-year-old American, who is playing in his fifth Ryder Cup, didn’t play in either session on Saturday at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy. That followed sitting the afternoon fourballs session on Friday, too.

Fowler has been rumored to be one of the players dealing with a bug that U.S. Captain Zach Johnson said has been going through his team’s locker room. Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis reported that Fowler had a sinus infection. But Johnson said it wasn’t an illness but rather a captain’s decision that was the reason that Fowler sat all day on Saturday.

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“It was a situation where our matchups felt it was best to go this direction,” Johnson said. “Rickie is the consummate professional and team player. We had an embrace that I’ll never forget and a smile afterward. And you know what, it’s hard. I want to play all 12 guys every match — every session, excuse me. That goes without saying. So it was nothing more than that. He is a dear, dear, dear friend. And knowing him, it’s probably motivational.”

Fowler, who teamed with Collin Morikawa in a foursomes match on Friday, is set to face Tommy Fleetwood in singles in Match 11.

The U.S. enters the final day trailing 10½ – 5½.

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