Rickie Fowler got us all to buy in this weekend. Maybe not everyone thought he would close out a dominant 72-hole performance and walk away with the U.S. Open title, but most of use believed he could.

In recents years, the most marketable man in golf appeared as though he was on his way out. As Brendan detailed on Thursday, Rickie had to overhaul his mental and physical golf game to avoid becoming irrelevant. Instead of throwing in the towel, he’s had a resurgent season.

On Sunday at LACC, Rickie teed off with the first 54-hole lead of his major-championship career. But his Hollywood fairytale ended early. Fowler started slow, lost the magic touch that propelled him through the first three rounds, and fell out of the picture on the back nine.

During Sunday’s round, when it was clear that Fowler wasn’t going to hold on, the overwhelming sentiment among fans seemed to be sympathy. He’d always had his supporters, but there were plenty of people who disdained him as a side show. At this year’s U.S. Open, his story of perseverance struck a chord and converted a lot of critics.

A moral victory isn’t what Rickie was after this weekend, but it’s not nothing. Let’s hope this isn’t the last time we see of him in contention at a major.