But what does Rickie’s life look like behind the scenes? Hint: His caddie doesn’t pelt him with ice or roll him down a hill in a big inflated ball. Here’s a glimpse into his real professional and personal life, which does include fishing from paddleboards.
I kicked-off 2019 at the Farmers Insurance Open®. It’s obviously one of my favorite events of the year, given my ties with Farmers — plus having my family and friends out there. I’ve had some struggles at Torrey Pines, so I changed my approach slightly this year. I arrived Sunday and played the North Course on Monday. Since the redesign, I’m still learning some of its subtleties. That plan worked out well, as I shot 66 there on Friday. The South Course is still a bear. It’s long, with thick, rough and fast greens. If you miss the fairway, you have to play defensively, since it’s tough to hold the ball on the green playing from the rough.
Putting in time in the gym is a huge part of my routine and keeping my game at a high level. I work regularly with my trainer and team to make sure I’m not only taking the right approach in my workouts to help my game, but also making sure my recovery and diet are where they need to be. Whether it is 45 minutes or two hours, time in the gym is a big part of continuing to raise my game to the next level. My fiancée, Allison, has been a driving force, with her knowledge, experience and overall support helping me push through in the gym. Using her background in track and field, I’ve been able to incorporate some new workouts. While I’ll never be an elite track and field athlete, sprints and other cardio work have been a big addition to my routine.
While practice and spending time in the gym is crucial, I try to find a good balance and enjoy my life outside of golf. At home, there is nothing better than spending time with Allison and friends. Living in Jupiter, one thing I’ve grown to enjoy is fishing. Whether we’re getting a group together to go a few miles off-shore on someone’s boat to really get after it, sitting at the end of the dock or grabbing our paddleboards to enjoy some casual fishing and be out on the water, it’s something that I enjoy when I’m not on the course. I’d compare my fishing skills to that of a mid-tier handicap: I can have some days where I’m on-point and others where I’m just throwing out a line and hoping for the best.
I’m fortunate enough to work with a number of great partners on different projects. Last March, alongside Farmers and SBP, we had the opportunity to have a small part in rebuilding the Gilbert family’s home. The house where Yessica, Daniel and Justin live was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. To be there and spend time with the family, especially their six-year-old son, Justin, who has been through a number of heart procedures, keeps everything in perspective. The Gilberts came out at the Farmers Insurance Open in January this year. I got to spend time with them and see Justin running around getting autographs, and the overall experience was great. I try to be a positive influence on the younger generation, whether it’s students from The First Tee or kids like Justin Gilbert. They give me a quick break from everyday life, and time with them means a lot to me.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is a tournament I really enjoy and golf course that fits my game. I’ve come close to winning it in the past — and faced a serious challenge in the rollercoaster of a final round. On the 11th hole, I got too aggressive with a chip that ultimately went into the water. I decided to drop where the ball went in, and, after placing my drop, I walked up to survey the green for my chip. As I was looking at the green, my ball rolled back into the water. After calling in the Rules Official, I took another penalty stroke and was hitting my sixth shot. Ultimately, I made a triple bogey – and a good one at that, since my putt for triple was a 17-footer! I’ve never been a part of anything like that and I’m sure people haven’t seen many situations like the one that unfolded. I kept my attitude and mind right, birdied a few holes coming in and won the tournament. It was special because it was the first major win my dad and grandpa were there to see in person. There was a lot of commentary afterwards about everything that happened during that round; we capped off our celebration later that night with a little carpool karaoke to “We are the Champions.″