Rickie Fowler Photos: The Early Years

Rickie Fowler plays a shot during the 2007 Walker Cup.
Rickie Fowler at the Walker Cup in 2007.

David Cannon/Getty Images

 

How did golfer Rickie Fowler go from fresh-faced, shaggy-haired junior golfer to one of the most popular professional golfers on the planet in just a few years? That journey is what is traced here. The photos (and accompanying text) track Fowler from his early appearances on the national and international golf scenes, through his first pro tournament experiences, and finally to his first PGA Tour victory.

Growing Into a Champion

Rickie Fowler hits an iron shot during the 2007 US Amateur
Rickie Fowler at the 2007 US Amateur Championship, at age 18. Dino Vournas/Getty Images

Fowler was 18 years old at the time this photo was taken, during the 2007 U.S. Amateur Championship. In 2007 and 2008, Fowler was the No. 1-ranked amateur golfer in the world for a total of nearly 40 weeks.

Getting the Picture

Rickie Fowler 2007 Walker Cup
Whoa ... that's meta!. David Cannon / Getty Images

Rickie Fowler was a heralded junior golfer and then collegiate golfer, when, in 2007, he was selected to play for the United States in the Walker Cup against Great Britain & Ireland. Fowler was in his freshman season at Oklahoma State University, and he would go on to win the Ben Hogan Award as the NCAA Player of the Year, the first freshman to do so.

The Walker Cup was played at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, and above, Fowler snaps a photo during a practice round. Fowler compiled a 3-1 record for Team USA, which edged GB&I 12.5 to 11.5 for the win.

First Tee

Rickie Fowler 2008 U.S. Open
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

This is Fowler on the first tee in the first round of the 2008 U.S. Open, Fowler's first appearance in a major championship. He made the cut at Torrey Pines and finished tied for 60th. He was 19 years old at the time.

Flag Waver

Rickie Fowler 2009 Walker Cup
David Cannon / Getty Images

Fowler went 3-1 for Team USA at the 2007 Walker Cup. At the 2009 Walker Cup, he did even better: 4-0. Above, Fowler takes the American flag for victory lap on the 18th green at Merion Golf Club.

Kiss the Trophy

Rickie Fowler 2009 Walker Cup Trophy
David Cannon / Getty Images

Kissing the trophy after a win is something that photographers love encouraging victorious athletes to do. This is a nice shot of Fowler's reflection as he puckers up to the Walker Cup trophy following his 4-0 performance in the 2009 Walker Cup Match. We're not sure if this is the first time Fowler planted a smooch on a trophy (he'd won a lot of trophies by this point), but you can bet it's not the last.

At the Open

Rickie Fowler plays a tee shot during the 2009 US Open golf tournament
Rickie Fowler during the 2009 US Open tournament. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Fowler plays a tee shot during the first round of the 2009 U.S. Open, his second major championship appearance. Fowler made the cut in his first U.S. Open in 2008, but in 2009, at age 20, he missed the cut.

Looking Forward

Rickie Fowler 2009 Nationwide Childrens Hospital Invitational
Hunter Martin / Getty Images

While still an amateur, Fowler played in the 2009 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational on the Nationwide Tour, where this image was taken. And Fowler played pretty good, too — he finished second. A sign of things to come? Many observers thought so, and speculation mounted about when Fowler might turn pro.

Pro Debut

Rickie Fowler 2009 Albertson's Boise Open
Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

Fowler decided to turn professional following the 2009 Walker Cup. He made his pro debut at the 2009 Albertson's Boise Open on the Nationwide Tour. Before the tournament began, he posed for the above photo with a staff bag of his new sponsor, Titleist. It was an underwhelming debut - Fowler carded 73-71 and missed the cut.

PGA Tour Debut

Rickie Fowler 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Marc Feldman / Getty Images

Not long after his pro debut on the Nationwide Tour, Fowler played in his first PGA Tour event, the 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He missed the cut in that pro debut on the Nationwide Tour. But in PGA Tour event No. 1, Fowler did much, much better. He finished tied for seventh place.

Playoff

Rickie Fowler 2009 Frys.com Open
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

This photo was taken in the final round of the 2009 Frys.com Open on the PGA Tour, Fowler's second appearance in a PGA Tour tournament. He placed seventh in his first PGA Tour event. In this one, he very nearly won. Fowler finished regulation tied with Jamie Lovemark and Troy Matteson. The three-way playoff resulted in a victory for Matteson.

Rickie and Ryo

Rickie Fowler Ryo Ishikawa 2010 Pebble Beach
Robert Laberge / Getty Images

Fowler (left) walks ahead of playing partner Ryo Ishikawa, as waves crash in the background, at the 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Fowler was in his first season as a member of the PGA Tour, having earned his tour card at the 2009 Q-School finals. Both players were very early in their pro careers at this point, but both had the label "phenom" attached to them. (In ensuing years, however, Fowler's success at the highest levels of golf has been much greater than Ishikawa's.)

Boy In Blue

Rickie Fowler 2010 Pebble Beach
Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

Fowler is dressed in bright blue all the way down to his shoes at the 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Many things stood out about Fowler in the first year of his professional career; a propensity for brightly colored — some would say adventurous — on-course outfits was one of them.

Almost

Rickie Fowler 2010 Phoenix Open
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Fowler reacts to a missed birdie putt on the 16th green during the final round of the 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. Fowler was chasing leader Hunter Mahan at the time. Fowler had another birdie putt on the final hole that just missed, and he finished one stroke behind Mahan in second place. It was Fowler's second runner-up finish on the PGA Tour since turning pro in late 2009.

Orange Juiced

Rickie Fowler 2010 Memorial orange outfit
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Fowler had a great tournament at the 2010 Memorial. He was the third-round leader, but wound up finishing in second place. While that left him still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, it was his third runner-up finish in 24 career starts to that point.

Fowler's all-orange outfit is a nod to his school color at Oklahoma State University. To this day, Fowler typically wears orange in the final rounds of tournaments.

Rickie Fowler at the 2010 Ryder Cup

Rickie Fowler 2010 Ryder Cup
Rickie Fowler celebrates after sinking a long putt on the final hole to forge a tie against Edoardo Molinari in the 2010 Ryder Cup singles. Andrew Redington / Getty Images

Fowler's first Ryder Cup experience was eventful. And although he didn't win a match, Fowler emerged with a reputation for clutch play.

In the Saturday foursomes, Fowler committed a rules blunder that cost his side (he was partnering Jim Furyk) the hole against Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer. But Fowler/Furyk fought back, and on the 18th green Fowler sank a testy downhill birdie putt to salvage a half point.

Then, in singles, Fowler staged a huge comeback against Edoardo Molinari. Fowler was 3-down with three holes to play. Golfers almost never come back from that deficit in match play. But Fowler did, making great putts including a long one for birdie on the final hole to, again, salvage a half point.

First PGA Tour Win

Rickie Fowler 2012 Wells Fargo Championship Winning Putt
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

In his traditional final-round orange, Rickie Fowler knocks in the winning putt at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship against a backdrop of fans, most of whom were cheering for him. Fowler defeated Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour.

It wasn't his first win as a professional, however; in 2011, Fowler won the Korea Open on the OneAsia Tour.

In the years since Fowler has continued to be a regular threat to win on the PGA Tour, has piled up multiple victories, regularly represented Team USA in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. He continues to be one of the most popular players in men's golf. Check out the Rickie Fowler biography for the list of his victories and more recent accomplishments.