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Rickie Fowler On What He Learned From His Grandfather

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As far as feature writers go, there’s nobody better in golf than Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz. That’s why I was excited recently when he tackled Rickie Fowler in Fowler’s 827th appearance on the cover of GD (approximate).

You can read the whole profile here. It talks a lot about Fowler’s new swing, why he’s so beloved by kids and what Butch Harmon has done for him mentally.

But the most fascinating parts were about his grandfather Yutaka Tanaka (Yutaka is actually also Rickie’s middle name). Tanaka grew up for a portion of his childhood in a¬†Japanese internment camp. As an adult, he took Rickie to the course constantly.

“I would pick him up at 2 o’clock on a school day, and we just did things together,” Tanaka told Golf Digest. “He didn’t talk much, mostly just watched. When we fished, he did everything right, and he had that patience where he didn’t mind if he didn’t catch anything. In golf, we were both beginners, but he could hit the ball, and he could concentrate, and he had drive. Those things came from his parents [Rod and Lynn Fowler], not me.”

Fowler reciprocates the love.

“Being around him gave me an attitude toward life,” said Fowler. “He’s always in a good mood. He loves having people around him. He treats people the right way. Loves life. He’s just … happy. It’s the way I try to be.”

Pretty good stuff from a grandfather and a grandson who clearly love each other. Rick also has Tanaka’s name tattooed on his arm.

Fowler shot a 70 on Thursday at the Cadillac Championship and is T11 after 18 holes.

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