by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Championship tees off this morning as the world’s best golfers all try to capture the seasons last major. The United States has been shut out this year in the majors as Chubby Chandler’s crew has had a monopoly on the big ones so far this season.
One of the U.S. players that has a chance to break that streak this week is one of the faces of the future of American golf. Rickie Fowler, 22, is still searching for his first professional win but that just makes him more focused on his task at hand.
Fowler gets plenty of attention for his fashion forward outfits as he wears colors and styles not seen on a course before. His flat brim Puma hat is a carryover from his days as of dirt biking and looks more at home at the X-Games than it does at Augusta National. The hats along with his Sunday orange outfit that honors his Oklahoma State golf roots are his trademark. But he is fast becoming known for his game as much as his dress.
With his long locks and boyish face Fowler may look like the kid skateboarding at the mall but he is more “Old School” than X-Games. Everyone in golf from Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to Butch Harmon and Rickie’s pal Bubba Watson rave about this kid’s maturity and attitude. He is polite to a fault and respectful of the game and the legends in it. There’s no cockiness just confidence. He isn’t abrasive, he’s accommodating. He devotes plenty of time to charitable causes that surround the tour and always takes time to interact with fans.
On the course he plays an “old school” game of golf. He’s built like Gary Player at 5ft. 9 in. and 150 pounds but drives it close to 300 yards. He is able to hit all the shots. He’ll work the ball from left to right and right to left depending on the situation. Fowler has been described as fearless by those who have seen his game up close. He has been likened to the gambling Lanny Wadkins who never saw a pin he didn’t like and his putter is a deadly weapon. Fowler likes to take it at the hole but as he matures his game has also.
Fowler stands as good a chance this week as any American player. He has two top tens in his last three starts including a T2 last week at The WGC and a T5 at The Open Championship. The last six majors have been won by first time major winners. Fowler certainly has a chance to keep that streak alive.