by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Tour is like most businesses in these difficult economic times: it could use some help increasing its bottom line. There are some players that could help The PGA Tour this year deal with fewer dollars, less viewers and a “Tiger-less” season. We’ll take a look at some of the players that could have a positive impact on the tour this year.
Rickie Fowler is one of the young, new breed of golfers that may appeal to golf fans both old and young. After Fowler turned pro last year after his sophomore season at Oklahoma St. he went out and promptly finished tied for seventh at the Timberlake and took second in a playoff at The Frys.com Open. Not only does he have the game and a new PGA Tour Card, he also has the look and charisma that many complain most tour players lack.
Fowler looks like he may be more at home on a skateboard or a dirt bike. The truth is golf is his second love. His first was Motocross and he spent his childhood racing dirt bikes with his dad. He still takes the bike out and flies a few jumps but golf is his main focus now. His motocross ancestry may be a valuable asset in attracting younger viewers to the tour. While television ratings are sure to drop during Tiger’s hiatus, Fowler could be a link to the “younger generation” of fans that are borderline viewers. Fowler has the appeal that works for the “texting, Face Book, YouTube, Twitter” generation.
Don’t think that Fowler is just another pretty, young face. Sure he’ll develop his own gallery of young women that insist on following him on the course a la Camilo Villegas and Adam Scott, but his appeal goes beyond that. This young man has a game beyond his years. He plays an old school game. He is a player that is more concerned with feel rather than his mechanics. He uses an old school coach that has convinced Fowler that he can figure things out on his own. He is as fast a player as there is on tour. His approach is plain: get the number, pull the club and hit the shot. So far he looks to be a go for broke, gambling style player that isn’t afraid to try the high risk shot.
He may sound too good to be true: an attractive, skilled, young player that appeals to many demographics. My personal favorite characteristic about Fowler is that he plays fast. Fowler could be one of the new reasons people tune into the tour. He certainly can’t hurt the numbers and maybe he’ll give Stewart Cink some competition with his Twitter followers. If you don’t know what Twitter is, I have made my point.