By Will Martin
It used to be that John Daly would partake in some crazy stunts to shock and awe the fans of golf. Daly had a swagger and physicality that made you think of Babe Ruth in golf attire. “Grip it and Rip it”, he’d say. For many years I saw John Daly do amazing stunts when the PGA Tour shot through Portland Oregon in the early 90’s…
It has been close to 15 years since last hearing about much less seeing theatrics or gimmickry with pro golfers doing feats of strength and/or driving distance whilst fans of the sport look on. Shooting balls over the audience at an intended target, being Ruthian in the quest to the sounds of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.
John Daly indeed is partaking in the current Texas Two Step Road Swing through Dallas and Ft. Worth. Someone else who is doing the same is a young man whose ability to color coordinate the clothes reminds me of the Payne Stewart in NFL knickers days 20 years ago. His name is Rickie Fowler.
Rickie LOVES anything to do with speed, air, and the outdoors. Once upon a time Mr. Fowler did some amazing things by way of the motorsport variety. It should come as no surprise that when you put Colt Knost, Rickie Fowler, and the good people of Red Bull into an equation of a golf obstacle course some fun might and will occur.
We saw what the wind provided for the just completed Byron Nelson a few nights ago. The wind would play havoc again on Monday night. Twas a Texas shaped green that Fowler and Knost would play friendly round of ‘Closest to the Green’ inside Victory Plaza in downtown Dallas Texas Monday night.
With gusty winds the early challenges were an 80 yard lob wedge, then a 115 yard gap wedger from street to green the Colt gallantly galloped onto the green with little difficulty while Rickie took a while to get warm. A golf cart awaited them.
Going across the street into a parking structure Knost and Fowler would then attempt blind shots from 140+ yards that had to fly over a six-story building to land on the Victory Plaza green.
Fowler and Knost each hit 14 shots in the finale, starting off slowly until they honed in on the target. With the winds causing havoc, Knost was able to land around the nearby bunkers consistently, but couldn’t hit the green. He also hit a few balls onto the nearby rooftops that were never seen again.
On Fowler’s fourth attempt he nailed the green, causing a roar from the crowd. On his sixth shot he landed 30 inches from the hole, which proved to be tough to beat, crowning Fowler as Red Bull Off Course champion, red jacket and all.
“I have done some crazy stuff with Red Bull, but this is by far the craziest,” said Fowler. “I got some good wedge practice in today. I won’t see a harder shot in the tourney this week at Colonial. “
The event served as a warm-up to sharpen Fowler’s and Knost’s games as they prepare to play the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club. You can also include John Daly in that equation. Actually I think Red Bull might want to consider the prowess of Daly aiming at moving targets from a distance. Maybe not.