With 12 words in victory, Rickie Fowler may have shown why he’s so loved
How would you celebrate?
How would you celebrate, after the doubts? The questions. There were many. Would you win again, after not doing so for four years, four months and 29 days? Not that anyone’s counting. Were you tinkering too much? Were you too ‘commercial?’ Were you too cool? Were you any good?
How would you celebrate, after the rise? This past year or so has been a hoot, right? The move back to swing coach/whisperer/legend Butch Harmon. A few tweaks here and there. And then magic. Seven top 10s this year. Three of which have come since the end of May. It gets really good here. Especially that final-round final pairing at the U.S. Open, which, although things did not end in victory, it gave a hint.
How would you celebrate, after Sunday? You were leading after 54 holes at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. You then birdied 3 at Detroit Golf Club. And then 5. And then 7. You were up. And then nothin’. There were some unfortunate breaks. On 12, you found two straight bunkers. On 14 and 15, you missed shorties. On 16 and 17, you missed the fairway off the tee by a foot. On 18, you were down a shot.
And then you stuffed an iron to 3 feet.
And you made that.
And you made a playoff.
Where you sprayed your tee shot right, among your legion of admirers, only to maneuver your ball to 11 feet.
Where you proceeded to hole the left-to-righter.
And you won.
How would you celebrate, after all of that?
Rickie Fowler, take it away.
For the slightest second, he stayed hunched over his putter. Then he stood tall. Then came the moment that they’ll put on the posters. He crossed his arms over the top of his putter. He looked up, his neck slightly twisted. He exhaled. He smiled. If “damn, ain’t this good,” were an image, this would be it.
His caddie, Ricky Romano, bolted over for a hug. They slapped hands. They hugged again. He joked for him to get the ball from the cup. Fowler then took off his orange cap and hugged playoff playing partners Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin.
They do winner’s interviews on TV, you know.
Fowler held his daughter, Maya. She wasn’t around the last time he won. He kissed his wife, Allison. He was ready. CBS’ Amanda Renner asked one question.
“Rickie, it’s been four years and four months since this victory. A lot of hard times. A perfect baby in between. What does this one mean to you?
First, the golf.
“It’s really hard to put it all into words. Honestly, a lot of good stuff this year. Been playing some really good golf so I knew it was just a matter of time with how I was playing.”
Then some emotion.
“And um [his voice crackled] and yeah, I’ve had a couple tough weekends where I’ve had a chance. U.S. Open, didn’t get it done. [He paused. He looked at Maya.] But at the end of the day, get to hold her and hang with Maya, my wife. [He smiled.]”
Then a dozen words. If you want to know why Fowler is so loved and why this win seems so sweet for so many folks, well, here you go.
“Yeah, winning’s great, but there’s a lot more to life than that.”
How would you celebrate?