Phoenix, Fowler (65) seem to be a perfect match

By Ryan Reiterman February 5, 2016, 12:25 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Standing in a fairway bunker on his final hole of the day, Rickie Fowler had a choice to make.

Option 1: Take a lofted club, blast out of the bunker and hope to get up-and-down from the fairway to save par.

Option 2: Open the face on his 7-iron, pray he doesn’t nail the lip of the bunker and just maybe his ball will land safely on the green from 170 yards out.

Fowler grew up racing dirt bikes and is still a huge fan of action sports, hence the endorsement deal with Red Bull and Instagram posts with surfing god Kelly Slater and Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath.

So, yeah, Fowler chose Option 2.

He flushed his second shot from the bunker, and it settled 12 feet away for a closing birdie, a 6-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"It's not one that you try and pull off a lot," he said. "Definitely at home, but tournament golf sometimes you don't try and do that. Just kind of went with it. I knew I could hit it, but I had to hit it perfect."

Fowler and the rowdy Phoenix Open seem to be a perfect match.

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Articles, photos and videos

The yelling and boisterous cheering from the fans remind Fowler of the crowds at an action sports event, and while some players just try to block out all the noise, Fowler embraces the atmosphere much like three-time Phoenix Open champ Phil Mickelson.

“I like playing in front of the big crowds and how crazy the fans can get, and being kind of acclimated to the atmosphere here definitely helps,” he said.

The fans at TPC Scottsdale love nothing more than to be entertained, and Fowler is one of the most exciting players in the game. He’s calm and collected on the course, but his good looks, bright Puma outfits and five worldwide wins have attracted a new crop of younger fans.

Those fans - both above and well below the legal drinking age - were out cheering on Fowler even though he had an early tee time on Thursday.

In case you haven’t heard, the fans here at TPC Scottsdale don’t exactly pace themselves.

Playing in the group in front of Mickelson, Fowler birdied three of the first four holes and then ignited the crowd with an eagle on the par-5 15th.

Fowler put a new 5-wood in the bag last week, and he said it’s finally going the distance he expects out of a 5-wood.

“Ended up with a perfect number [on 15],” he said. “I had it in to 13, as well, but I just mishit it a little bit, so it was nice to feel the rebound, hit that one. And I know the back of the green there pretty well, hit a lot of putts and know it's pretty straight, and hit my line perfect there.”

Fowler got his putter going again after a missed cut last week at Torrey Pines. He holed 15-of-16 putts inside of 15 feet.

And this is another promising stat for Fowler: In his previous two missed cuts (U.S. Open and Barclays), he’s won the following week (Scottish Open and Deutsche Bank).

But even as popular as Fowler is, he didn’t give the fans what they wanted at the par-3 16th. He missed the green and was showered with boos. He bogeyed 16, birdied 17 and bogeyed 18 to make the turn at 4 under par.

A birdie on the par-5 3rd and closing birdie on 9 out of the fairway bunker gave Fowler a share of the lead and a chance to head into the weekend with a shot at his fifth win in nine months, and second this year after winning two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi.

"I made some good putts to start the round," Fowler said. "Just kinda got everything going. Made a couple of bad swings. Cost me a little bit, but other than that, nice way to get off to a good start here."

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.