Often known for his fashion sense and inspiration to young, aspiring golfers, PGA star Rickie Fowler has established himself as one of the tour’s elite talented athletes. After several years of struggling to get his first Tour victory, he now has six titles to his credit and three appearances with the U.S. Ryder Cup team (including the 2016 championship squad) not to mention his trip to Rio where golf was brought back to the Olympics after a 112-year absence..
In this CSJ conversation with managing editor Chad Bonham, Fowler talks about the importance of playing and living with integrity, and how his Christian friends on the PGA Tour help him stay grounded in his faith in God:
Chad Bonham: How does it feel to be an inspiration to the next generation of young golfers?
Rickie Fowler: It’s great to be somewhat of a role model. I want to be a positive and good role model and lead by example and try to do the best I can. Playing good golf definitely draws attention but I want to have a good attitude on the course and do the right things.
Bonham: Does that attention challenge you to play the game with integrity and live your life away from the course the same way?
Fowler: Yeah, I’m definitely conscious that I’m being watched at all times. I want to be a good role model. I don’t want to be a screw-up or anything like that. I want to do the right things and set the right example.
Bonham: How much encouragement and strength do you get from the weekly Bible studies you attend while out on the tour?
Fowler: (It helps) to be around good guys. Ben Crane is one of my good buddies out on tour. (It helps) to have guys like that to hang around and guys like Bubba Watson. We spent a little time with Tobymac at one of our Bible studies. It definitely helps to be around positive guys and guys that are out trying to do the right thing and it encourages me to do my thing.
Bonham: Do you feel any pressure knowing that you’re a younger player to whom the veterans are trying to pass the torch?
Fowler: Yes and no. There are a lot of good young players right now. Obviously I’d like to step up and be that guy. I need to play a little bit better. I definitely would like to be that guy they pass the torch down to, but I have to keep playing well, step up my game a bit and ultimately get my first major win out of the way.
(Photos: Chad Bonham; Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)