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Rickie Fowler wants to be remembered for more than golf

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Rickie Fowler signs for his legion of fans. (USATSI)
Rickie Fowler signs for his legion of fans. (USATSI)

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Rickie Fowler is literally and figuratively one of golf's most colorful figures.

Literally because of the eye-popping outfits he dons week after week and figuratively because, yep, that triple bogey at Bay Hill when he was trying to chase down Tiger last year is still there.

But that's who we want him to be -- a gunner. The affable, Instagram-posting, monochromatic poster child for the future of the sport.

It's why earlier this year Butch Harmon and Phil Mickelson put their heads together and decided that, yes, golf "needs" Rickie Fowler to be good.

Fowler said he doesn't feel that weight from others, only himself.

"I definitely have my own expectations, my own pressure that I put on myself. I think that's the biggest thing I focus on. If I play well and win it makes things a lot easier. It makes people happy as well as myself."

It makes people happy.

Rickie Fowler has a lot of people to make happy. That's what happens when you're young, fun, supremely talented, and have competitions with Mickelson to see who can sign more autographs.

So it would seem that the expectations for the future are weighty. Multiple wins, maybe a major, growing into the guy when it comes to American golf.

But Fowler said he's already accomplished his dream and that he cares as much now about helping push the sport forward as he does hoisting trophies.

"Looking back, as far as looking when I was a kid and what I dreamed about doing as far as playing on the PGA Tour and winning on tour, I've got those taken care of," Fowler said.

"I'd love to have a lasting impact as far as growing the game. It would be cool to be remembered as a major champion. I'd like to be remembered as a great golfer but also a great person, as far as growing the game and charity work. The whole well-rounded athlete."

It's easy to criticize athletes who have interests outside of golf. We all grew up watching the dude who was singularly obsessed with winning golf tournaments.

That was great, but it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the pursuit of the things that being good at golf allows you to pursue is equally fine.

Fowler has taken full advantage of that and has built a fairly unique stable of brands. Red Bull, Puma, Farmers Insurance, and Crowne Plaza.

The last of which he recently shot some commercials for in their new The Big Win campaign -- the outtakes are a pretty good microcosm of Fowler's personality:

Fowler noted that he's the same, but a little bit different (and probably a lot richer) than your average businessman. He pursues success, albeit at a higher level than most.

"For me the amount of time I spend on the road and traveling, (Crowne Plaza) is a great fit for me. It relates for people who travel for business and go cross-country for meeting. I just have a different type of meeting. I meet on the golf course and go play a tournament."

For his attitude about these "different type of meetings" -- care-free but focused -- Fowler often receives criticism. A criticism that must be born out of jealousy, the only explanation for such irrationality on the various social media platforms of which Fowler is king on the PGA Tour.

"Some of my fans don't really like it when I respond to people who say things that are trying to be hurtful on social media. But I think it's kind of funny. There's a lot of things that make me laugh, that people would try and say those things."

"I mean there's some that I can't even retweet or respond to just because of how bad it is. But there are some that I can throw a jab back and have a good time with it."

"It's too bad there's haters but I think there's a saying 'if you don't have haters, you're not doing something right.'"

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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