PINEHURST, N.C. — Clothes are often the story when it comes to Rickie Fowler and Thursday at the U.S. Open, his attire made for a heart-warming one.
Fowler showed up for the opening round of the year’s second major wearing white knickers and knee-high argyle socks in a tribute to the late Payne Stewart, whom he called “one of my all-time favorite players.” Fowler was 10 when Stewart won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in 1999.
“Cool to be in the position I’m in to wear some attire like he used to wear, to give tribute to him,” said Fowler, who opened with a 70. “Obviously he had a special week here in ’99. And I’m off to a decent start. It was cool to get the comments from fans out there walking down holes. Definitely a special day.”
Fowler, who said he was back to pants on Friday, started talking with the folks at Puma, his clothing sponsor, several months ago. The biggest challenge was keeping the wraps on everything — Fowler estimated only 10 people knew about Thursday’s tribute.
“Just thought it was fitting and thought it would be really cool to be able to do it,” he said.
Fowler drew the line at the Hogan cap, though.
“I was sticking to flat bill the whole time,” he said. “… But I think the outfit did all right today.