May
8
2011
Fowler Hatgate Comes to a Head Again
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Fowler flips his hat backwards during pressers

For the second time in a month, Rickie Fowler was berated for an absolutely unforgivable crime of wearing his hat backwards. Fowler turns his hat around during interviews so people can see his face better, along with the logo to his website embroidered on the back. He’s not trying to be a trouble-making punk. In fact, he’s quite the opposite and known for being one of the most well-mannered players on the PGA Tour.

With his shirt untucked and hat flipped around, Rickie Fowler had just finished working out in the fitness trailer at Quail Hollow on Wednesday. While he was in the parking lot, a member approached him and informed him of the club’s dress code.

I ran into him near the valet and jokingly called him a trouble-maker. “It happened just right there,” he said, pointing to an area off to the side. “I was standing right there with a group of caddies and some players.”

As the 22-year-old relayed the story, he tried to hide his bewilderment by the whole incident.

“[The member] came up to me and said, ‘Our hat policy is the same as Augusta’s. Turn your hat around.’”

Whoa, that seems a little unnecessary to bring up Augusta and humiliate him in front of his peers. Mark Wilson was the only other person besides myself in the vicinity as Fowler recounted the story on Friday, and our jaws dropped simultaneously (figuratively).

“Wow, he really said that?” asked a surprised Wilson.

During his presser at Augusta for the Masters, Fowler walked in the room sporting his hat backwards per usual. A green coat member moderating the interview immediately asked him to turn it forward. According to Golfweek‘s Jim McCabe, Fowler said he wanted people to see his face. The green coat wasn’t amused and requested a second time. Fowler complied.

Unlike at the Masters, the members run the tournament and everyone is expected to follow their rigid, outdated rules, but it’s their club. On the other hand, while it’s Quail Hollow’s policy, the Wells Fargo Championship is a PGA Tour event, where the club gives the Tour permission to take over for a week.

Regardless, Fowler quickly complied to the Quail Hollow member’s request, but he admitted being caught off-guard.

“I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not at first,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to cause a scene, so I just turned it around.”

And we wonder why golf has such an uptight and stuffy image that repels (and repulses) the non-golfing masses. Aside from Tiger and Phil, Fowler is the biggest draw to the game right now. This week if you venture to the kids’ play area, there are dozens sporting flat-brimmed PUMA hats — just like Rickie’s.