RIO DE JANEIRO – Rickie Fowler has had many “pinch me” moments so far at the Olympics, and the first round doesn’t start until Thursday.
Fowler was the only American golfer to march in the Opening Ceremony last Friday, where he got to hang with swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA stars, among others. He’s been staying in the athlete’s village, where he’s hung out with the diving team while watching many other Olympic events on TV.
But the moments that have stuck with him the most so far have been when others have simply showed gratitude for him being here.
“I have had a very warm welcome from fellow U.S. athletes and other athletes from around the village, almost thanking me for being here,” Fowler said Tuesday. “It’s a really cool feeling to see them reaching out. Not just from the U.S., from other countries as well.
“They appreciate that we wanted to make the trip down and wanted to represent our country. It gives you a little bit more appreciation for what the Olympics is.”
While many are pleased Fowler is here, that still hasn’t stopped them from asking about why others aren’t, namely Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Fowler wishes they were here as well, but respects their decisions not to be. However, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t made them all wish they made the trek south.
“As far as making guys jealous back home or wherever they may be, I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of it,” he said. “There may be some personal message that have been sent back and forth. I was definitely showing them that we’re having a good time down here."