Rickie Fowler keeps tornado victims in mind ahead of Colonial

Posted Wednesday, May. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For PGA pro Rickie Fowler, a former Oklahoma State Cowboy, his yearly swing through Fort Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is practically hitting home.

Although a native of California, Fowler’s two years at OSU forever bonded him with the state just over an hour north of Fort Worth.

“Once you have been in Oklahoma and it’s a part of you, you feel like you’re part of the whole state,” Fowler said Wednesday after his pro-am round at Colonial Country Club. The tournament begins Thursday.

So the tornadoes that rocked towns south of Oklahoma City this week hit home with Fowler as well, moving him to match $100,000 of the donations given by Crowne Plaza Invitational patrons through the weekend.

“I’m pretty involved with all of the people around there,” Fowler said. “It’s a great part of the country, and it is always going to be a part of who I am.”

The footage was hard for Fowler to watch as he said he kept track of the storm’s aftermath on the news, watching friends of his friends lose everything.

It is those ties to his collegiate state that continue bringing Fowler back to Colonial, where he has improved every year since his first start in 2010 in which he finished tied for 38th. After a tie for 16th in 2011, Fowler posted his best finish in the tournament when he tied for fifth last year.

“I love playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area just because there are a lot of connections with Oklahoma for me and a lot of Cowboy fans — OSU Cowboys that is,” Fowler said with a laugh.

The course also suits his game well. Not known for his distance game, Fowler said he only pulls out his driver four or five times throughout a round and only once on the back nine.

The key to success at Colonial in Fowler’s eyes is to stay down the straight (or doglegged) and narrow.

“The rough is not too thick right now, but if you get any grass behind the ball, you can’t really control it very well. So I will take 260 [yards] on every hole right down the middle of the fairway and play anyone out here.”

Fowler said the course is at its toughest in dry weather with heavy wind, but if some precipitation falls, as is projected on Friday, scoring conditions will be prime.

“If we get weather and it happens to be calm, there are a lot of birdies to be made out there, especially with the way the greens are rolling right now,” he said.

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