Golf has been aching for personality ever since Tiger Woods began his descent from the summit of this global game. It has taken a bit of time rediscovering that mojo, but the charming presence of players like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day had given great impetus to the game. While all three golfers are excellent practitioners of the craft, Rickie Fowler’s charisma and colour could have a redefining influence on golf in the coming decade.
The presence of young children in the oversized hats and bright orange colours of their hero, underline the growing influence of Fowler on the game and its followers. The 26-year-old is a rock solid presence in the top five of golf and a first major title should consolidate his influence on the game, when it does happen eventually.
Fowler is already a three-time PGA TOUR winner and a steady hand in the top 10 on leaderboards across America. Fowler will be in Asia this fall swing and it is likely that Asian fans embrace the young man’s bold and bright statements.
“It’s really exciting for me to take part in something like this away from the course, especially as I prepare for this year’s WGC-HSBC Champions,” said Fowler about his presence in Hong Kong this week. “I’ve done hundreds of corporate days over the last few years, but the Forum feels like something I’ve never been part of before. From the list of speakers to the profile of the brands here, it seems like everyone from the golf world is going to be in Shanghai at the start of November.”
Fowler’s been knocking on the major doors, having finished inside the top 5 at each of the four big tournaments last year. He could not emulate that this season, but has been solid nonetheless.
Victory at The Players Championship in May proved to his critics about his ability to win the titles that matter.
It was a victory that came just days after a survey had named Fowler the most over rated golfer alongside Ian Poulter, presenting an interesting shade to his character.
"I’m going to try and play as well as I can this week and I’m going to take care of my business," said Fowler, who came up just shy in all four grand slam events in 2014. "I guess top fives in four majors isn’t that good? So one of three isn’t that good? Like I said, I’ll take care of my business and I’ll be just fine." By the end of that week, things did turn out just fine for Fowler.
Fowler also showed that he had lost none of his competitive edge even late in the season with a solid victory at the Deustche Bank Championship in September during the FedexCup Playoffs.
Fowler’s cultural relevance to the expansion of golf has been spoken about for a while now. The young golfer has both Japanese and Navajo ancestry. Needless to say he has been inspiring golfers of both Asian and Native American origin.
There is no need to guess where the core of the support will lie in the coming weeks as the golf action is centred in Asia. But you can also be certain that Fowler will be among the few international stars with a vocal support base. A victory in November could just be the medicine that he needs to spur himself for more success in 2016.
Someone who was the number one ranked amateur golfer in the world in 2007 and 2008 for about 37 weeks doesn’t really have a lot to prove and just needs that one break that enables him to strive forward with purpose.
What Fowler has in addition to his talent, is his confidence in his own abilities and the fact that he is sure that the win is not very far shows us the sort of person he is. He has a solid power game, coupled with the fact that his putting is also now pretty decent, showing everyone that he is working on his game continuosly and looking to improve as much as he can.
His burgeoning fan following is something that he understands is very important and he has shown that he is dedicated to remaining close to them and interact with them openly and freely. Fowler has everything going for him that a professional sportsperson would need – he has the confidence, the talent, the connect with fans and the temperament to do justice to his talent.
Having achieved his best ranking of world number 5 earlier this year, it is not a doubt that this self-taught golfer’s career graph is on the rise and soon enough he will be at the top of the golfing world, and has a very bright future in the sport.Published 31 Oct 2015, 08:25 IST