After gaining 11.263 shots on the field from tee-to-green over the first three rounds (an average of 3.754 per day), Fowler lost almost six shots in that area on Sunday alone.
The 30-year-old made a freaky triple-bogey in driving rain at the par-four 11th hole and later found himself a shot behind Branden Grace with five holes remaining at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona. He'd come up short with his approach shot to the par-four, and a poor wedge shot for his third rolled past the hole, off the back of the green and failed to find enough grass to hold on to before it splashed in to the water.
PGA Tour rules official Slugger White determined Fowler's ball was in play after the drop, so he was assessed a one-shot penalty.
A wild tee-shot cost him another shot at the short 12th just as Grace made a good four at the par-five 13th, the South African suddenly finding himself in possession of the outright lead having been five behind Fowler 10 minutes earlier. Fowler was in danger of losing a couple of strokes on an easy Par 5 hole. "I can't take anything for granted and I had to dig deep today and I did that, it's just unfortunately one bad shot".
He held the 54-hole lead here twice before, including previous year when he finished in a tie for 11th. And like I said, up or down and just figuring out a way to win.
A par on the last gave Fowler a closing three-over 74 and a two-shot victory over Grace, with Justin Thomas a shot further back after a round of 72. "It was nice that we were able to play a good final five, six holes and put ourselves in a spot to go get this thing finally going home with us".
"I hope I never have to go through that again", Fowler said after his win, which was watched by his father, mother and grandfather.
Chez Reavie, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar finished in a three-way tie for fourth place (12 under).
The win marks Fowler's fifth on the PGA Tour and ninth professional victory. "You have to roll with the punches". 15 and 17, then got up-and-down on the 18th for par.
However, when he attempted a straightforward pitch, his ball skidded through the green, narrowly missing a bunker before rolling into the water.