Rickie Fowler is one of many big names teeing it up this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
While Fowler hasn't won yet this season, he's still among the top 10 in the world ranking after a number of high finishes. Fowler is also known for his colorful wardrobes and glowing personality, often drawing comparisons to Arnold Palmer.
But he doesn't think anyone can fill Palmer's shoes.
"No, that will never happen," Fowler said Wednesday. "No one really can. He definitely helped pave the way for what we're able to do out here. Obviously guys like Tiger, through that generation, he took it to a new level, but none of this would be possible, none of it would have been possible for Tiger without guys like Arnie setting the stage."
While Fowler hears the Palmer comparisons, it was never his intention to directly emulate anyone.
"I wouldn't say I've tried to be anyone that I'm not," Fowler said. "I definitely am true to myself. And that has a lot to do with upbringing, growing up, but, yeah, he's someone that inspires you to be a better person and those are the kind of people that you want to surround yourself with. I was lucky enough to get the time that I did with Mr. Palmer and, yeah, he was someone that inspired you to be a better version of yourself."
Speaking of shoes, Fowler is set to sport some interesting Palmer-themed shoes this week in honor of the late star. He's excited to wear his latest custom kicks out on the course.
We teamed up with @PumaGolf and @RickieFowler to design and create a series of custom shoes and caps that you can win – with proceeds going to #ArniesArmy! Learn more here: https://t.co/4svHjlmlAm #LifeWellPlayed pic.twitter.com/hKaFOGj4ja— Arnie's Army (@ArniesArmyCF) March 12, 2018
"We had a fun time last year doing some custom shoes, ones that I wore and then auctioning a pair off and then we were able to, I believe last year it was a little over 25,000 that we raised that went back to the foundation for Arnie," Fowler said. "This year I think it's a little bit more of a raffle setup and to buy into that, but so far we have raised more than what we did last year and we haven't even started the tournament."
Fowler is hungry to win again, and thinks Bay Hill — host of this week's event — could be his course.
"If it happens this week, this year, that would be awesome," Fowler said. "It would be good timing. But any time, to win this golf tournament, this golf course is a great test. I've had success here before, like I was talking about earlier, I won a junior tournament here, I've been in contention here a couple times. So it would kind of be the cherry on top.
"But I got a lot of guys lined up here on the range, a lot of guys on the course right now that are going to put up a pretty good fight, so it's going to be tough, I'm going to have to play well to be in contention, let alone win. So looking forward to it. Feel like the game's heading in the right direction, especially with Augusta around the corner, so definitely looking forward to getting off to a good start tomorrow."