Rickie Fowler returns with eye on making Tour Championship

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- After skipping the past two tournaments with a right oblique injury that hampered him at the PGA Championship, Rickie Fowler is back this week at the BMW Championship with hopes of playing well enough to advance to the Tour Championship.

Fowler, 29, has dropped to 26th in the FedEx Cup standings and likely needs a top-30 finish at Aronimink Golf Club in order to advance to his fifth Tour Championship.

"I feel like I'm definitely a lot more rested and ready to go than most guys here, I'm sure," Fowler said. "It's a big stretch it wasn't planned for us to miss, but it could end up being a good thing with the stretch we have coming up this week and Tour Championship and Ryder Cup right around the corner. Glad to be back, healthy. Nice to be back without pain."

Fowler said he first experienced issues last month during the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

"I played through it there and Sunday and then tried to rest and recover as much as I could going into the PGA," Fowler said. "It probably would have been possible to play last week [at the Dell Technologies Championship], but I didn't start playing until Wednesday of last week.

"It was nice. It was nice to come back and not have pain, but I wouldn't have been able to be prepared to play a tournament."

Fowler said he was playing to protect the oblique during the PGA Championship, where he tied for 12th, and he will likely not go full out with his driver this week. While he could have simply taken two more weeks off, he also felt he "didn't want to go into the Ryder Cup having five weeks off, away from competitive golf."

He is playing the first two rounds of the BMW with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, who are ranked 25th and 27th, respectively, in the FedEx Cup standings. They begin play at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday.