Why Does Rickie Fowler Have An Olympic Tattoo?

The American marked his Olympic debut in 2016 by getting the iconic logo inked on his arm

Joe Skovron, caddie for Rickie Fowler of the United States, points to his Olympic Rings tattoo during a practice round prior to the start of the WGC - HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club on October 26, 2016
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Olympic spirit was high when golf's return to one of the biggest sporting events in the world was announced after more than a 100-year absence.

Not since 1904 in St. Louis had golfers battled it out for the fabled gold medal, before Peter Dawson and Ty Vatow, president and vice president of the International Golf Federation (IGF) respectively at the time, led the argument for the sport to be reinstated. 

And in 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted in favour of golf's bid and confirmed it would be part of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's the end of a long journey, or the beginning of a new one," Dawson said, after the first tee shot was struck at the Olympic Golf Course in Brazil's capital city.

The field for both the men's and women's competition was limited to 60 players and based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Specifically, the top 15 in the rankings at the cutoff point were eligible, although each country was limited to a maximum of four players.

Outside the top 15, a maximum of two from each country that didn't already have two or more representatives then qualified until the field was set. Competition was particularly tough to make Team USA. Americans have long dominated the world rankings, but in the end, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler suited up for the stars and stripes.

Kuchar finished highest of the American contingent in the 72-hole stroke play shootout, clinching the bronze medal behind Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson who took gold and silver respectively, but the event seemed to take on particular significance for Fowler. He marked the occasion by getting a tattoo of the iconic Olympic rings on his right forearm.

Fowler finished in a tie for 37th at level par, alongside Danny Willett and 13 shots out of the medals, but will always be able to say he represented his country on arguably the grandest stage in all of sport.

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During the Games, Fowler was pictured hanging out with fellow athletes from other sports and even got an Olympics-themed haircut. Former Olympic diver Sam Dorman, who won a silver medal in Rio, tweeted "Forever Olympians @RickieFowler" after the pair got inked with matching tattoos.

But Fowler wasn't the only American to get a permanent reminder of his Olympics experience. Lexi Thompson, who finished in a tie for 19th in 2016 and 33rd at the 2021 Tokyo Games, also got a commemorative tattoo on her left wrist, as can be seen below.

Lexi Thompson watches her drive from 5the th tee in round 2 of the womens golf individual stroke play during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For all the money the biggest names in golf now play for, especially on the men's side, it shows that there are some things that can't be measured in zeros in a bank account. 

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x