PINEHURST, N.C. – Rickie Fowler never met Payne Stewart, but he remembers being 10 years old and hearing about his death.
“I was just getting off school,” Fowler said. “I was on College Road sitting in the back seat with my mom and sister in the car. I started crying in the car. … He was someone that I looked up to. I think it was tragic to the whole golf world.”
That’s why, when he teed it up at Pinehurst No. 2 for Thursday’s opening round of the U.S. Open, Fowler decided to wear plus-fours with argyle socks pulled up to his knees.
“It’s cool to be in the position I’m in to wear some attire like he used to wear, to give tribute to him,” he said. “Obviously he had a special week here in ’99. And I’m off to a decent start.”
Fowler opened with an even-par 70 – but don’t expect the plus-fours to make a return for the next three rounds.
“This was just to come out of the gates today. I think I’m back to pants tomorrow.”
While he dressed like Stewart from the neck down, Fowler eschewed the traditional Tam o’ Shanter in favor of his usual flat bill cap.
“No, I was sticking to the flat bill the whole time,” he admitted. “But I think the outfit did alright today.”