Talk about perfect timing. Rickie Fowler, the 23-year-old golf phenom and Red Bulletin magazine's cover boy for May, won his first PGA tournament this weekend.
"Told you it was coming," he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. Fowler turned pro two and a half years ago. He had entered 66 tournaments before Sunday's big win.
Fowler shot a three-under 69 on the final round at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
But even with a strong close, victory wasn't easy. With Rory Mciiroy, winner of the 2011 U.S. Open, breathing down his neck, Fowler went for broke on the 18th hole, gunning for birdie with the wedge from 133 yards.
He dropped the ball four feet from the hole.
"I didn't want to play it safe," Fowler said. "I had a good number, and I was aiming right of the hole with the wind coming out of the right, and if I hit a perfect shot, it comes down right on the stick. ... I hit a perfect shot at the right time, and I was going for it."
Fowler, the 2010 PGA Rookie of the Year, grew up in Murietta, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. His idols were motocross riders, like Jeremy McGrath.
“I looked up to him for his work ethic," he told the Red Bulletin. "He came from the same town I’m from, didn’t come from a bunch of money, and figured it out on his own. And obviously he’s one of the greatest riders of all time.”
Even though Fowler rode motorbikes and BMX bikes, he still aimed from a very young age to join the PGA.
“When I was 7 years old my main dream was to play on the PGA Tour. I don’t know exactly what it was, I just knew from the first time I was out messing around on the driving range I fell in love with it. I don’t know what clicked.”
He went pro when he was 20 years old and won the rookie award and became the youngest player on the Ryder Cup team. The only thing missing was a win. No longer.
"Definitely some relief, satisfaction," he said Sunday. "I'm definitely happy. It's not a bad thing, winning. It's kind of fun."