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'It's a lot better having someone you actually get to share it with'

Rickie Fowler talks about that infamous photo from Hazeltine and lessons learned from Michael Jordan.

Rickie Fowler is the odd one out at Hazeltine during the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Rickie Fowler is the odd one out at Hazeltine during the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Image: David Davies

RICKIE FOWLER HOLDS fond memories of the 2016 Ryder Cup.

A third appearance in the competition and, of course, a first victory as part of Team USA.

What he might not look back on with great pleasure is the infamous picture of each of the players on the victorious team with their partners.

Posed, smiling, sharing a kiss. In one of the most memorable photographs of the 2016 tournament, Fowler stood alone and shrugged.

While he still sees the funny side of it two years later, the California native admits having someone by his side heading into proceedings this time around is a welcome boost.

“I mean, it was great being over and being able to be a part of these team events and just be on my own and get to see them and be a part of them,” he said.

“But yeah, it’s a lot better having someone you actually get to share it with and not go back to your room and just be by yourself.”

The theme of support was discussed ahead of action getting under way on Friday morning and now, alongside fiancée Allison Stokke, the American says he’s found someone who has made the trip easier for him this time around.

“You get to hear about the day and what the girls did, and I can talk to Allison and tell her what’s going on, what we did at the course, or whatever. We’re having a blast.

It would be nice if we can be successful this week and relive that picture and I’ll actually have someone to kiss. We can make fun of Bryson on this one or something.”

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42nd Ryder Cup - Preview Day Three - Le Golf National Stand Alone: Rickie Fowler looks out across the water at Le Golf National in Paris. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The 29-year-old explains that while he is very much experienced in the arena of the Ryder Cup, he is still in the learning phase of his career. One of those whose counsel he regards highly is that of legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan.

“He’s special. I mean, obviously what he did through his career, to be playing basketball, a little bit of baseball, and back to basketball.

I’m lucky to get to spend some time with him back home in South Florida and play a bit of golf with him. As you can imagine, he’s very competitive. 

“You hear some of the stories of him talking about some of the teams that were the toughest to play or some of the roughest on the court, maybe he talked about the guys that he faced and who he thought were the toughest, not just as a team but the individuals that he faced. How he went about home games versus away games.

“It’s just cool to hear him talk about him going to battle or going to play a big playoff game with his teammates.

“One that he brought up was I think they were up 3-0 against Phoenix, and they lost the next two and had to go to Phoenix.

“He said he packed one suit and one bag and told the guys, ‘We’re going there for one job; it’s to go win.’ 

“It’s fun to have the chance to be around guys like him, guys that were very successful and guys that compete at a very high level.

“He competes at a pretty high level in our sport, too. We have some good games at home. I’m definitely privileged to get the amount of time that I do with him.”

Team USA come into this year’s biennial tournament as favourites to retain their title, with three of the top four ranked players in the world part of their team.

Action gets under way at 7.10am Irish time on Friday morning.

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