Rickie Fowler, golf's new prodigy, made more news this year by something he didn't do than anything he has done--and he has done plenty, right out of college, contending in tournaments. But he didn't go for a par-5 green in two when he was in contention in Phoenix, which has led to a furor over these supposedly brave young aggressive players.
He was asked about it yesterday in the media tent at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and explained that he had told his caddie that if he couldn't reach the water-guarded green with an iron, he wasn't going to go for it.
Referring to his pro-am at the Palmer, played at Bay Hill in Orlando, he said, "So we were walking down and I was in a similar -- not a similar position, but I went for it with a 3-wood. It doesn't matter at that point. They were asking kind of what would you do in situations on Sunday. And I said if I'm one shot back, I'm going to I lay-up. But if I'm two to three shots back, I'm going for it. Because 16, I have played all week, it's a short par 3. 17 is a short par 4 and 18, usually get a short iron to possibly a wedge in your hand. So there's three birdie chances, and if you're one shot back, I mean, you have plenty of opportunity. So I felt with giving myself a wedge on 15 to an easy front pin was almost not guaranteed birdie, but more than half the time I'm going to make birdie. And you know, not to look at the downside of things, but I wasn't -- I mean, the tournament can't be won on 15, but it can be lost. So I felt like with giving myself a wedge on 15 from a good yardage and then going onto some possible birdie holes after that was the best opportunity. "
A reporter mentioned to Fowler that Chip Beck has said that if he had it to do over again at the 1993 Masters, he would have gone for a par 5 that might have given him his one careeer major.
Fowler said, "Seeing how everything played out, yeah, obviously I would like to go back and go for it, but it's a completely different situation. At the time I played my wedges really well that week. And so I felt like giving myself a wedge there and with the birdie holes that were in front of me. I felt like it was the best way to play.
But yeah, sure, if you're going to put me back in the situation, I'll go for it right now and give myself a different shot at it. "