The Masters is a yearly gathering of the best and brightest golfers in the world, and it seems Rickie Fowler took that latter adjective to heart.
Taking the course for his opening round Thursday, Fowler emerged from the clubhouse wearing a lime green outfit that may have ruined high-definition television as we know it. Though the spectacular run of youngster Tianlang Guan and the steady play of Tiger Woods were notable during the opening day at Augusta, it's wholly fair to say Fowler's outfit stole the spotlight—if only because it's possible that the outfit itself had a spotlight attached.
As one would expect with such garish duds causing strain on the public's eye, the Twittersphere was in full force to voice their thoughts.
Jay Williams of ESPN had trouble distinguishing between Fowler's shirt and the green—a tongue-in-cheek "concern" of many:
Jay Williams @RealJayWilliams
Rickie Fowler's outfit once again is off the charts. Hard to tell the difference btw him & the greens.. Lol2013-4-11 19:24:13
Meanwhile, the infamous Green Men, who spend their evenings teasing NHL players in the penalty box in Vancouver, noticed Fowler stepping on their toes:
Green Men @TheGreenMen
Oh we noticed! RT: “@SIASport: I hope the @TheGreenMen don't see Rickie Fowler trying to steal their schtick! http://t.co/dpbZNUIawb”2013-4-11 20:10:10
Good-hearted as they always are, the Green Men were quick to welcome Fowler to the club—which apparently means dressing up like a human pack of Skittles on a daily basis:
Green Men @TheGreenMen
Way to rock the green out there bud! @RickieFowlerPGA Top it off with a jacket on Sunday! #gotime2013-4-11 20:11:24
Your mileage on the outfit will obviously vary. My personal take is that Fowler's look would have been less ridiculous had he simply worn his various looks from the latest Golf Boys video shoot. I'm particularly partial to the shirtless biker routine he has going on at the 1:18 mark.
This outfit Thursday looks like something a barista would pour in your glass at 5 p.m. on a Friday. I, like John Dorian, enjoy a good appletini (easy on the 'tini) as much as the next guy but perhaps not at the most important golf tournament of the calendar year.
With that being said, it's both bemusing and comforting to see that Fowler refuses to change due to his surroundings. The Masters is a tradition unlike any other, but its rules and regulations have the personality of a public library.
Conservative, proper dress is required—a fact that, while within Augusta National's rules, Fowler thumbs his nose at here.
Perhaps it's just youthful exuberance on display. Fowler is just 24 years old and has long been one of the more strangely dressed players on tour. So why change at The Masters, especially when folks are expecting something outlandish from the youngster?
Some would say people won't take Fowler seriously in those outfits; that should change after Thursday's round.
If you somehow adjusted your television color settings enough to actually watch Fowler play Thursday, he might want to think about the margarita look more often. He shot a four-under score of 68, which puts him two strokes behind leaders Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia as of publication. (There are still golfers on the course finishing their round.)
His four-under finish was the best of the young golfer's career at Augusta and made some Masters history. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Fowler is the first golfer to card two double-bogeys in a round at Augusta and still finish with a score in the 60s since 1992:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Rickie Fowler is 1st golfer with 2 double-bogeys in round at @The_Masters to shoot in the 60s since Raymond Floyd in 1992.2013-4-11 20:32:20
Other than those two holes where Fowler's level of play matched his atrocious shirt, he was brilliant in the first round. He carded six birdies and knocked through an eagle on No. 15 that caused quite the ruckus in the gallery.
Playing in just the third Masters of his burgeoning career, Fowler looks like a force to be reckoned with. He made the weekend in each of his two previous attempts but never finished any higher than 27th.
With his round on Thursday putting him in solid position going forward, let's hope Fowler just recognizes he's among the best and leaves the spotlight-stealing outfits for golfers whose games cannot do their talking.