The way Rickie Fowler sees it, he left the top of the world amateur rankings in good hands with Canadians Nick Taylor and Matt Hill holding down the top two spots for a time last summer. Both are still in the top 10.
"I've gotten to know both Matt and Nick through college and amateur golf. They're both great players as their play has shown in the last couple years," said the 21-year-old Fowler.
The next time American Fowler sees his Canadian rivals could be on their own home turf if he continues his rookie PGA year at the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto.
"As of right now, I haven't really looked that far into the schedule. The Canadian Open would definitely be a possibility on the schedule," Fowler, who finished tied for fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open Sunday, said.
The field at the Canadian Open has gotten progressively stronger the past two years, but should he decide to come, Fowler's presence would give it a little extra star power if he lives up to the expectations of those who say he will step up in Tiger Woods' absence.
His amateur results are impressive. Fowler not only owned the top spot in the world rankings, but was a two-time, first-team All-American at Oklahoma State, where he also won several prestigious awards.
He won all four of his matches to help the U. S. claim the Walker Cup before turning pro last year, but the adjustment period to the PGA Tour can be bumpy for anybody. Fowler's approach is humble despite the expectations.
"It's definitely cool that people are out there talking about me like that," said Fowler, who tied for 15th at Q-School. "I'll just go out and keep doing what I've been doing, just keep playing my game."
That's a wise plan. There are more immediate goals for a rookie, even one as high-profile as Fowler.
"Goal wise I'd like to get off to somewhat of a decent start," Fowler said. "Really, my own expectations are just to get the most that I can out of every week because you can be on top of the game one week and struggling the next."
Fowler is unique, both in sartorial splendour with his fresh, young look and in background, the latter of which likely explains his grounded approach.
"I'm not exactly the traditional golfer. I didn't grow up at a country club, just a kid that grew up at a driving range," he said. "We would have chipping and putting tournaments there. A lot of the guys that I played high school golf with, we all hung out there. You know, anywhere from guys that were five years old to 80 years old just everyone who loved the game."