Prior to the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Rickie Fowler talks about matching fan donations to benefit the tornado victims, and his strategy for the tournament.
DALLAS – With gusting Dallas winds, blind shots and partial sight lines to navigate, PGA TOUR star Rickie Fowler and fellow pro Colt Knost traversed urban hazards as part of a precise shot-making challenge: Red Bull Off Course. The narrow fairway at Victory Plaza proved challenging as Fowler and Knost attempted to nail a hole-in-one onto a custom-built, Texas-shaped green.
The name of the game was to see who could hit it closest to the pin, while egged on by special guests and former Dallas Stars hockey player Marty Turco and Kip Brennan. The two contestants strolled out to the sidewalk and warmed up with an 80-yard lob wedge, followed by 115-yard gap wedge from across the street and onto the AT&T Plaza green. Fowler started off slowly in these practice rounds, while Knost consistently landed on the green.
Then the two players jumped into a golf cart and drove around the block to an adjacent 3rd-floor parking structure for the main round. From there, they attempted blind shots from 140 yards that to had fly over a 6-story building or be sliced left-to-right to land softly on the Victory Plaza green. With golf balls flying over the heads of hundreds of spectators, Fowler first jumped on the MIC to let the fans know they “should probably duck.”
Fowler and Knost each hit 14 shots a piece in the finale, starting off slowly until they honed in on the target. With the winds causing havoc, Knost consistently was able to land around the nearby bunkers, but couldn’t hit the green. He also hit a few balls onto the nearby roofs that were never seen again. On Fowler’s fourth attempt, he nailed the green, causing a roar from the crowd. On his sixth shot, he landed 30 inches from the hole, which proved to be tough to beat and led Fowler to be crowned the Red Bull Off Course champion, red jacket and all.
"I have done some crazy stuff with Red Bull, but this is by far the craziest," said Rickie Fowler. "I got some good wedge practice in today. I won't see a harder shot in the tourney this week at Colonial."
The event served as a warm-up to sharpen Fowler’s and Knost’s games as they ready to play the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.
This was Fowler’s first urban adventure in Texas, and is a continuation of his Red Bull Off Course escapades in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Augusta and Los Angeles over the past few years. Catch his D.C. hole-in-one here.
Here is the live interview schedule for this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. All interviews will be streamed in the live video player, which is available above starting Tuesday.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Corey Pavin, 2:15 p.m. ET
John Peterson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Zach Johnson, 10 a.m. ET
Rickie Fowler, after pro-am
Sang-Moon Bae, TBD
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson and Padraig Harrington have all committed to the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Tuesday.
"Along with being great golfers, these six individuals are all well known and our fans will be thrilled to see them compete in person," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "Our competitive field just got a lot stronger with these additions."
All six have played in the event before, which will take place at TPC River Highlands June 20-23, the week after the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Jacobson won the Travelers in 2011, while Harrington tied for fifth in 2011 and was 11th last year.
Others already committed include Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Robert Castro opened with a course record-tying 63 to take a three-shot lead on Thursday. Whether he still has that lead by the time he tees off Friday afternoon, who knows. Conditions appear to be good for scoring again and already a few players -- Tiger Woods among them -- have started to make a move. Here's a look at who and what to watch for this afternoon.
Roberto Castro (12:46 p.m. ET): A big reason Castro was able to go so low in the opening round was because he hit close -- six of his approach shots were inside 5 feet. That will be a tall order come the afternoon when the wind is expected to increase along with the temperature, making for a firm, fast golf course.
Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler (1:18 p.m. ET): After failing to break 70 in 16 of his last 17 rounds, which included a pair of missed cuts and two other finishes near the bottom of the leaderboard, Mahan was "stress free" with a 67 Thursday. Given his accuracy, he should fare well here (two years ago, he finished sixth). Fowler, on the other hand, struggled to a 73 and will have some ground to make up to make the cut.
Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell (1:28 p.m. ET): Both were 2 under on Thursday, and McDowell comes into this week having recently won at another Pete Dye course (Harbour Town).
Zach Johnson (1:49 p.m. ET): Perhaps lost in all the headlines Thursday was Johnson, who was superb with seven birdies and just one bogey. Johnson has played progressively better here the last three years, finishing 32nd, 22nd, 12th and second.
Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott (1:49 p.m. ET): McIlroy finally broke par here with a sublime 66 in the opening round and he finally appears to be comfortable around this place. His last two wins have also come on Pete Dye courses. Stricker was nearly as good with a 67 and between the three the group made just two bogeys.
Rickie Fowler has a need for speed, and while he was in Charlotte this week for the Wells Fargo Championship, he joined up with NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kasey Kahne at Mooresville Motorplex.
Rickie Fowler and 14-year-old Reyhan Griffin were pro-am partners on Wednesday. (Courtesy: The First Tee)
Click here to watch Reyhan's winning entry.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rickie Fowler was once Reyhan Griffin. And not that long ago, either.
Fowler used to look up to golfers like Tiger Woods and world motocross champ Jeremy McGrath when he was a kid growing up in southern California. But a dirt bike accident when Fowler was 14, the same age Reyhan is now, prompted him to shift his focus to golf.
Fowler is a decade removed from that life-changer and he's one of the most popular golfers on the PGA TOUR -- particularly with younger fans like Reyhan. His edge style and colorful clothes are a draw everywhere he goes, and his breakthrough win at the Wells Fargo Championship last year was an extremely popular one.
Mindful of that synergy, Wells Fargo decided to reach out to teenage participants of The First Tee through its "Succeeding Together" video essay contest. Reyhan's entry was picked over 50 submissions and he is playing with Fowler in today's pro-am at Quail Hollow.
"I'm looking forward to it more than he is," Fowler said. "It's going to be a fun day. I love being able to hang out with the younger generation whether it's when I'm home in California or home in Jupiter, on the road, spending time, signing autographs for younger fans, to getting to play 18 holes today with Reyhan.
"I know when I was younger I liked guys that I looked up to whether it was in golf or action sports, any time I got to spend with them whether it was just five minutes with them saying hi, it was pretty special. ... But I think it will be just as much fun for me as it will be for Reyhan."
Griffin has been a member of the The First Tee of San Francisco since 2006. The eighth-grader, who has a 4.0 GPA, usually takes two backpacks with him to school -- one with his school supplies and another that holds golf magazines and instructional manuals. He practices golf six days a week and is a member of The First Tee's "Future Foursome" program -- citing integrity and golf as his favorite core values.
Reyhan and the other three prize winners will be guests of Wells Fargo at the tournament this week.