Amateur Comes Full Circle With Dream US Open Practice Round With Childhood Hero Fowler

Amateur golfer Michael Brennan practices with Rickie Fowler at the US Open 11 years after dressing up as his hero for Halloween

Michael Brennan played with his hero Rickie Fowler
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amateur Michael Brennan has already had a dream debut at the US Open after playing a practice round with Rickie Fowler - 11 years after dressing up as him for Halloween as a kid.

In a lovely full-circle moment in golf, college golfer Brennan managed to get a round Fowler himself predicted when he signed a picture of the youngster dressed up in his full orange gear.

Fowler's autograph on the photo read: “Look forward to playing a practice round with you at the 2025 US Open! Keep up the good work!!” 

And incredibly, although Fowler was out by a couple of years, on Tuesday Brennan teed it up with his childhood hero at Los Angeles Country Club for a practice round – with none other than Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

As if making your US Open debut wasn’t enough, Brennan got to play with the man who inspired him as a child, and also made the winning birdie to claim the spoils against Spieth and Thomas!

“I was nine or 10, I’m not too sure of the year exactly, but I loved Rickie,” Brennan explained to the PGA Tour. “Loved the orange, loved the young look. I had a wig for the long, flowy hair that he had going.

Brennan’s dad managed to get the picture to Fowler’s agent and asked him to sign it, when the idea of suggesting a future US Open meeting came about. 

Then, when Brennan managed to qualify for the 2023 US Open, Fowler’s agent notified him and the wheels soon were put in motion for a dream round.

“Sam, my agent, called me, kind of piecing together the past and then I just told him ‘Hey have Terry put us in a group text and we’ll play with Jordan and JT’, said Fowler.

“I asked the guys ‘Do we have a fourth for Tuesday?’ They said no and I was like ‘Alright, I got one’

It was an offer Brennan was never going to turn down: “He’s like ‘You know what? I actually need a fourth on Tuesday against the guys,. You want in?’

“I’m like ‘absolutely’ you know, I’d never miss that. I played alright, but we had a good match. It was always close. 

“I looked up to Rickie as a kid and wanted to get out and play with him and he was able to make that happen and set-up a great match for us. So super grateful, it was really cool.”

Fowler says it was nice to see Brennan come full circle from following him as a child to playing with him at the US Open – and clinching the winning putt against Spieth and Thomas.

“It was cool to not only bring him to get to play with me and go full circle from taking a picture and signing that back in the day to him and I playing,” Fowler added.

“And he birdied the ninth to win our match against Jordan and JT 1UP!

“Being in a position to make a positive impact on other people’s lives, to see someone who looked up to me and now has passed me – he’s a bit taller than me – and to be playing in the US Open is pretty cool.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.