Fowler's Fashion Critics Need to Move with Times
Rickie Fowler may not have the greatest fashion sense on the PGA Tour. In fact, let there be no doubt about it, he definitely does not have the greatest fashion sense on the PGA Tour - if you doubt it, just take a look at some of the outfits he has worn over the years, paying particular attention to those awful ankle-length trousers that were once de rigeur.
However, given the reaction to his decision to wear a Hawaiian shirt during the first round of the Tournament of Champions, you might be forgiven for thinking that he had committed the fashion crime of the century. Apparently, he offended the purists by wearing it OUTSIDE his trousers. OMG! How could he?
Let's be clear - he was playing golf in Hawaii, in gloriously sunny weather. It was hot. And Hawaiian shirts are designed to be worn outside your trousers, not to be tucked inside a belt. The shirt is part of a collection that was inspired by Fowler's grandfather’s Japanese heritage, and it incorporated golf clubs in the pattern.
Twitter went into meltdown while Fowler was on the course. There were those who approved, but many more took him to task, describing him variously as ‘bad-mannered’, ‘rude’ and ‘unprofessional’. For goodness sake – has the world gone totally mad? It was a shirt!
Rickie Fowler’s untucked Hawaiian shirt in the PGA Tour’s first event of 2018: ???? or ????? pic.twitter.com/rgevTfssS1— Golf Digest S-Africa (@GolfDigestSA) January 5, 2018
Cast your mind back a few years to when Tiger Woods started wearing collarless Nike tops. Do you recall anybody ever criticisng him? Me neither. However, when a close frieind of mine walked into the pro's shop at his local club, he was told that he would not be allowed on the course until he changed into a polo shirt. And here's the thing. Guess who sold him the collarless top? You got it - the same pro who wouldn't allow him on the course while wearing it.
This is a game that has seen John Daly take part in The Open wearing trousers that would be more suited as curtains, that thought it was fine for players to take to the course wearing Rupert Bear trousers. This is a game that has stood back and said nothing as Ian Poulter has competed wearing Union Jack trousers, who once played in The Open in a pair of strides that featured the Claret Jug on one leg and who wore an Arsenal shirt during a European Tour event.
And this is a game that forever complains about how difficult it is to attract youngsters. Ask yourself this: if you were a teenager watching the Tournament of Champions and you picked up on the fuss caused by Fowler’s decision to wear his Hawaiian top, do you think that you would ever want to go out and try the game? Of course you wouldn’t.
I happen to be a big fan of Rickie Fowler, and I love the fact that he is a bit different. There are too many robots on the PGA and European Tour. We need individuals and we need characters. And we need to accept that this is 2018 and that golfers don’t all want to look the same. Would the gin-and-tonic brigade prefer that they all wear plus-fours along with a jacket, collar and tie? While we are it, why don’t we bring back wooden shafts and balata golf balls!
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