Rickie Fowler once again opened the new year with a sartorial splash on the links. From the moment he turned professional in 2009, he’s never been afraid to push golf’s rigid and outdated dress codes. His “brand” has always been “edgy” and “disruptive,” but “classy” and “respectful” at the same time — it’s a fine line to toe, but he has managed to pull it off with perfection.
When Fowler stepped up to the first tee at Kapalua’s Plantation Course on Thursday, you could hear the sound of thousands of dentures fall onto marble and hardwood parquet floors in clubhouses around the globe. His opening drive in 2018 was eclipsed by his Hawaiian style golf shirt that he wore UNTUCKED. Yes, he wore an untucked Aloha shirt at a PGA Tour event and it stayed untucked for all 18 holes. And holy shit, he got through the experience relatively unscathed. At 5pm local time, the game is still alive and well.
It was touch-and-go for a bit on the back nine — I mean, Rickie’s scorecard — but he bounced back from a double-bogey on no. 13 with back-to-back birdies and then finished with an eagle on the par-5 18th to post a four-under 69. He’s currently tied for fourth in the 34-player field and trails first-round leader Marc Leishman by two shots.
I loved Rickie’s look, and as a rule, I detest the traditional version of these shirts (with exceptions). I thought he looked cool and classy, and way more “professional” than the average human in golf clothes. It’s pretty incredible how many people manage to pull off the disheveled slob look in a polo and khakis. I would almost call it a talent if it weren’t so prevalent.
“I wouldn’t say anything that within reasonable boundaries that I wasn’t afraid of going out and doing something different,” said Fowler. “I’ve always been different. I don’t want to go straight down the middle of the fairway. I like to skirt into the rough a little bit, but at the same time obviously still be respectable.
“I thought (the shirt) was fun and definitely fitting for Maui. It’s not like you can really bring out this shirt in many other places but on the island. So I thought it was definitely fitting for the start of this week.”
You do you, Rickie.
Perhaps I’m more entertained by the idea of the massive spike in phone calls and emails to the R&A, USGA, PGA Tour, Augusta National, etc. from curmudgeon golf traditionalists detailing their outrage and complaints and demanding all sorts of stupid shit. Maybe take up a cause that actually matters? Find a new hobby? Volunteer? Help those in need? Basically, anything besides crusading against the downfall of golf’s sanctimonious dress codes.
I imagine there were a lot of rants in general that went something like this: “Back in my day (circa 1890) we dressed with decorum and respect! First, it’s an untucked shirt, next, it’ll be DENIM and then the game as we know it will implode!”
Well, I’m fairly certain a good portion of these sartorial crusaders are familiar with Cotillions. And guess what? Earlier this week, the National League of Junior Cotillions announced Rickie was ranked no. 1 in its annual “Top-10 Best-Mannered People” ON THE PLANET. I mean, this was no joke, either — Fowler bested bold-faced names like Aly Raisman, David Beckham, Selena Gomez and Meghan Markle.
I’ve always believed in the notion of judging people by their actions and character instead of superficial and material things, like their sartorial choices. I’m also still recovering from a lifetime of being dress-shamed on the golf course and having my clothing policed by old white men and other institutions, so I’m a bit biased, but I’m empowered. And I’ve always tried to do my best to live by the motto, “Live and Let Live.” Cliche? Sure. But DGAF.
I could go on for hours entertaining myself with hot takes about Rickie’s untucked shirt, but there are more meaningful ways to spend the few hours I have left in Maui (which is truly a tragedy that should also be pontificated /eye roll). So, in the interest of time, sanity and sleep, I’ll leave it at that. By the way. I’m heading out because I have a flight to catch, then another, before the next one that will eventually get me to Taipei, my home for the next month.
Peace and mahalo!
P.S. I would like to throw my full support and endorsement of this campaign:
In fact, we should have a giveaway for people who actually do this and provide photographic evidence… hmmm… well, I’ll have plenty of time in the air to organize something. Hopefully. Stay tuned.