Rickie Fowler On Partying in the Bahamas, Why Zika Doesn’t Scare Him, and More

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Rickie Fowler hits a tee shot on the fifth hole during a practice round ahead of the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 25, 2016 in Springfield, New JerseyAndrew Redington / Getty Images

Rickie Fowler is one of the most visible players on the PGA Tour. Not only is he frequently near the top of the leader board, but his bold style makes him a fan favorite. Currently number seven in the world, Fowler arrives at Baltusrol, in New Jersey, to compete in this week’s PGA Championship, hoping to remove the moniker “best player without a major victory.” We caught up with Fowler after an autograph session to talk about the tournament, his Olympic quest, and how to color coordinate an on-course ensemble.

How did you come to the game of golf?

My grandpa had actually taken up the game of golf when I was young. He was interested in it and started to learn how to play. He took me to the driving range. I was right around two or three, and I fell in love with it. So that was it.

What’s been the most important part of your career so far?

I’d say earning my way onto the PGA tour when I first turned pro was a big stepping stone. Then as a pro, probably my biggest accomplishment was winning The Players last year.

What tournament do you want to win the most?

I would take any of the four majors. I wouldn’t put any of them ahead of each other right now. I’d take any of them as my first.

The Olympics are upon us, and many athletes have withdrawn for numerous reasons including concerns about the Zika virus. Why do you feel like it’s important to play in the Olympics?

I’m really looking forward to it. I know there’s been concerns, and definitely respect to all the athletes and other players who have denied to go and not to go. I felt like I talked to enough people that were involved or knew what was going on down there that had some insights on health and security to feel safe about going and playing in it. I’m pumped about walking in the opening ceremony, getting to walk with all the other US athletes. I think it’s going to be a great experience. So it’s 11 days in Rio, I'll enjoy the whole Olympic experience, getting to see the other events and then go get ourselves a gold medal.

What would you rather win? This weeks PGA or an Olympic gold medal?

I’d rather win this week and then take my chances down there. This week would be huge, obviously, being my first major, and the way that I’ve played this year in the majors, it would turn a so-so or not so good year into a great year.

Your style has evolved over the last few years. How do you go about putting together an ensemble for the course now?

I stick to enjoying what I wear. It has evolved a little bit. It’s a little more mellow; I still wear colors to push the limits, obviously, with the high tops and joggers and stuff like that.

But you’ve gone from wearing dominant, bold colors to letting the bold colors just be a flourish in your ouftit. Is there rhyme or reason to that?

No reason. Just me being me, evolving, also evolving with PUMA and their clothing line. The clothing line has become larger and larger, and I feel like my closet is getting smaller and smaller just because of the amount of stuff I get when new stuff drops. There’s so many new options, there are still some bright colors in there, but like you saw — some of it’s more accent kind of things and not just bold and right in your face.

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Your post-masters viral vacation looked amazing. Where are you going to go for Spring Break 2017?

We don’t have any plans yet, but we’ve been wanting to make another trip soon, if not next year. We definitely had a good time down in Baker’s Bay [in the Bahamas]. It's a place that I love to go. I have been going for many years, and I’m a member and have property down there, so… we’ll see. It could be there, we may try something else out. It’s really cool to have the friendships that I have with some of the best players in the world. We enjoy our friendships on and off the course.

I won't bother you for an invitation on the next trip.

(Awkward Laugher)

I hear you have quite a car collection, what’s your favorite piece?

It’s been fun building the collection over the years. I just got the new [Mercedes-Benz] GLE 63 coupe, and I got it two weeks ago when I was home for two or three days. Last week, I think all the other cars were getting jealous that I was spending all my time in there.

If you could play only one more round of golf, with whom would you play and where?

I would play with my sister, dad, and grandpa. They’re the only three who really play in my family, and obviously my grandpa is the one who got me going. The three of them and me at probably Augusta. It’s one of the coolest walks in golf. It’s beautiful, there’s a lot of history there. [And] with the Masters, I’ve become pretty good friends with a lot of members. It’s one of my favorite places just to walk around and play. 

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