2011 British Open Odds: Will Rickie Fowler Follow in Rory McIlroy’s Footsteps?

Because us sports fans like to think every major occurrence is going to lead to some kind of trend, Rory McIlroy's victory at the U.S. Open has many people thinking that some other 22-year-old wunderkind might just take the golf world by storm at the 2011 British Open.

Since there are only so many of those around, how about Rickie Fowler? The 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year hasn't yet won a professional tournament, but many agree that it's just a matter of time before he does. And because he finished tied for 14th at last year's British Open, perhaps Fowler will make a move at Royal St. George's this year.

If so, Fowler would take his place alongside McIlroy, and the two would rule the sport of golf for years to come.

Not surprisingly, that would be just fine with Fowler.

"I would like to match him at some point. It is a good friendly rivalry we have," said Fowler, courtesy of SportingLife.com.

Fowler went on to say that he and McIlroy are "good buddies," and that McIlroy's recent dominance has inspired him to step up his own game.

"He is pushing me to play my best and work on my game and obviously I hope I can catch up to him," he said.

Fowler certainly has a heck of an act to follow in the next couple of days at Royal St. George's. While Fowler struggled and ultimately missed the cut at the U.S. Open, McIlroy blew away the field with a 16-under victory to claim his first major.

That kind of dominance is something we have yet to see from Fowler, and Royal St. George's isn't exactly the kind of course that is conducive to brilliant play. The last time the British Open was played there back in 2003, Ben Curtis was the only player who finished under par.

Moreover, Fowler has the added pressure of more or less being the great American hope hanging over his head. And with the U.S.A. currently mired in a five-major drought, that pressure is a little higher than usual.

However, Fowler doesn't seem fazed by it.

"It comes along with the territory if I want to become one of the best players in the world," he said.

Right now, the British Open odds don't suggest that Fowler is one of the best players in the world. His odds of winning the Claret Jug currently stand at 66/1.

As a member of the field, though, Fowler's odds of winning are really as good as anyone's. It's going to be a tough tournament, and you get the sense that the golfer with the best luck is going to prevail.

Who knows? That might just end up being Fowler.

-Zachary D. Rymer

TAGS: 2011 British Open, , golf