published Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Who golfs? Signal Mountain student Nick Rich

Nick Rich was wearing the Oklahoma State orange flat-brimmed Puma hat that is the trademark of PGA Tour player Rickie Fowler.

But he wasn't trying to emulate the 23-year-old phenom.

"I'm sorry, I don't know who that is," Rich said. "I like Louis Oosthuizen because my dad is South African, and he's a big fan of Ernie Els, too. I loved Oosthuizen's albatross at the Masters.

"But I'm sorry, I don't know a Rickie Fowler."

Rich wore the hat Tuesday because it came with a new set of Cobra golf clubs that he bought two weeks ago. And he just basically likes the hat.

Rich is new to golf and new to this area. He was born in Switzerland and has lived in Nigeria, Spain and England for five years before coming to Chattanooga about 18 months ago with his father, who works for Alstom Power. He speaks English -- with an English accent -- Spanish, French and a little German.

Rich picked up the game when moving to America because his father plays regularly.

"It's nice to get away from everyone and everything, and you're in the sun and there's not much noise, and I just love hitting the ball," said Rich, who plays high school football for Signal Mountain. "I shoot 88 or 89; a 93 or 94 is a bad day."

Rich said he would like to improve to the point where he could earn a golf scholarship. But he realizes he may not have started early enough to attract attention and that his scores are a little high.

Nevertheless, it's a game he plans to play the rest of his life.

"You can play at any age," Rich said. "Golf is also a very sociable game. I love it."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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