Golf / Sports

Extreme sports enthusiast Rickie Fowler seeks thrill in WGC quest

You'd never be able to tell it from his neon-colored clothing, formerly long hair and the fact that he turned pro at just 21 years old -- but Rickie Fowler is not your average golfer.

Add to the list Fowler's penchant for extreme sports. Riding, biking, flying, jumping, driving, climbing -- you name it, Fowler's done it. Or will.

"Yeah, I'm an adrenaline junkie," Fowler said in a news conference during Wednesday's practice session for the Bridgestone Invitational. "I wouldn't say there's very many of those guys out here on the extreme side."

But that's not to say he doesn't get a similar thrill from golfing.

First off, no amount of extreme sports in the world could come close to earning Fowler what he's already made as a professional golfer -- more than $13 million.

There's also something about that big drive, eagle attempt or Sunday finish that gets Fowler going like a jump out of an airplane.

"I get a similar feeling when I'm either going for, like, a reachable or a drivable par 4, or going for a par 5 in 2," Fowler said. "You get a little bit of a rush going. That's the fun part of being in contention; get the blood pumping a little bit and adrenaline going."

Fowler was already not your typical golfer even before the money, fame and loud clothes put him in the spotlight. Fowler said he never had any playing privileges growing up, having never belonged to a club until a few years ago.

Instead, Fowler grew up near a local public driving range by the sand and gravel company where his dad worked. Fowler's father would exchange sand and rock for the range's parking lot in exchange for buckets of balls for Fowler to hit.

"I also grew up riding dirt bikes," Fowler said. "There's not many guys here that will throw a leg over a dirt bike right now. I haven't jumped out of an airplane yet, but that's happening very soon."

Fowler said he hopes to work out something with Red Bull or some Navy SEAL friends in San Diego to make the jump happen.

But the bucket list doesn't end there. Cage diving with great white sharks? Formula One racing? Fowler wants to do it all.

For now, that all takes a back seat to Fowler's current thrill-seeking adventure for the weekend: the quest for his first World Golf Championships title.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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