NORTON, Mass. – You will find him in white and electric yellow, white and neon green, or, as was the case Saturday, white and vibrant orange.
But looking in at the rock star-like show that is Rickie Fowler is different. Never, it seems, is it black and white. That’s because it appears as if everyone is smitten with the young man.
Rickie Fowler was among the top players to miss the cut at the U.S. Open.
Rickie Fowler reacts to a missed putt on the 14th hole during the final round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink Golf Club, Sunday, July 3, 2011, in Newtown Square, Pa.
Rickie Fowler tees off the on the third hole during the third round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink Golf Club, Saturday, July 2, 2011, in Newtown Square, Pa.
Rickie Fowler tees off on the 12th hole during the second round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink Golf Club, Friday, July 1, 2011, in Newtown Square, Pa.
Rickie Fowler hits out of a bunker on the 12th green during the second round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink Golf Club, Friday, July 1, 2011, in Newtown Square, Pa.
Rickie Fowler drives from the 14th tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011.
Rickie Fowler signs autographs before a practice round for the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament, in Bethesda, Md., Wednesday, June 15, 2011.
Rickie Fowler hits to the 14th green during a practice round for the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Tuesday, June 14, 2011.
Rickie Fowler tees off on the 10th hole during the second round for the Memorial golf tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Friday, June 3, 2011.
Rickie Fowler reacts to his birdie putt on the 10th hole during round three of match play against Adam Mitchell during Thursday’s 2008 U.S. Amateur.
Rickey Fowler lines up his putt on the first green during the first round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Thursday, June 16, 2011.
Rickie Fowler hits a bunker shot at the 12th hole during round three of the 2008 U. S. Amateur.
Adam Mitchell’s caddie talks to Rickie Fowler after Mitchell defeated Fowler in round three of the 2008 U.S. Amateur.
Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif. hits a tee shot on the second hole during a foursomes round of the Walker Cup golf tournament, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009, at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif. hits from the rough on the fifth hole during a pairs round of golf’s Walker Cup Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009, at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Rickie Fowler adjust his glove on the 7th hole during the second round at the Colonial golf tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, May 20, 2011.
Rickie Fowler lines up a putt on the ninth hole during the first round at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial golf tournament Thursday, May 19, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Rickie Fowler hits out of a bunker on the first hole during the third round of the Colonial golf tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, May 21, 2011.
Rickie Fowler hits a fairway shot on the 18th hole during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 7, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Fred Couples, left, and Rickie Fowler arrive at the first hole during the third round of the 2011 Masters.
Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy walk up the 14th hole together during the second round of the 2011 Masters.
Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the second tee during the first round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia
Amateur Peter Uihlein, left, and Rickie Fowler walk off a tee box during a practice round prior to the 2011 Masters.
Rickie Fowler of the US is seen on the 9th green during a practice round prior to the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 4, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
Rickie Fowler and his caddie Joe Skovron at No. 17 during Round 3.
Rickie Fowler makes birdie at No. 6 on Friday.
Rickie Fowler posted a 69 during Round 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Rickie Fowler during Round 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Rickie Fowler reacts to the crowd as he approaches the 12th green while playing Phil Mickelson during the second round of the WGC Match Play Championship.
Rickie Fowler answers questions during a press conference at the BMW Championship. Fowler will look to add a win to his collection of accomplishments in 2011.
Rickie Fowler (left) speaks with partner Jim Furyk during the opening session of foursomes on the second day of the Ryder Cup.
Rickie Fowler looks at his notebook on the 14th fairway during a practice round at the 2010 Ryder Cup golf tournament in Newport, Wales, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.
In this photo released by the PGA of America, a tote board displaying the United States Ryder Cup golf team, including the four captain’s pick, is shown during a news conference at the New Yor Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, in New York. United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin announced his captain’s pick Tuesday, selecting Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink to the team. The Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place from Oct. 1-3 at the Celtic Manor in Wales.
Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., tosses his ball in the air on the 11th green during the round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009.
Rickie Fowler at No. 9 during the first round.
Rickie Fowler tees off on the par-4 14th hole during the second round of The Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club Friday, June 4, 2010, in Dublin, Ohio
A decorated Rickie Fowler celebrates a made putt at the AJGA’s 2006 Canon Cup, a Ryder Cup-style match between the top junior golfers in the nation.
Rickie Fowler lines up his shot on the fifth green during the first round of the Byron Nelson golf tournament Thursday, May 20, 2010, in Irving, Texas. Fowler finished the day 2-over through 16 when play was suspended.
U.S. Walker Cup player Ricky Fowler is lifted in the air by Billy Horschel after Billy hit an approach shot to within a couple of feet of the hole during the foursomes match against Great Britain and Ireland at Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007.
Rickie Fowler tees off the fourth hole while playing Phil Mickelson during the second round of the Match Play Championship on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, in Marana, Ariz.
Rickie Fowler throws hats to the fans on the 16th green during the second round of the Phoenix Open Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Rickie Fowler reacts to just missing a hole-in-one on the 16th green during the second round of the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot at the first hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA golf tournament Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Rickie Fowler points toward the left rough where he hits his tee shot on the second hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament in San Diego, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011.
Rickie Fowler showed up in Oklahoma State orange for University Day during Round 3 of the Farmers Insurance Open.
“I’ve been saying it for years and I’ll say it again,” Bo Van Pelt said. “As great a player as he is, he’s even a better person.”
Paired alongside Fowler for a second straight day at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Van Pelt realizes he was pretty much along for the ride. And while he birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 68 and assure himself another cut made in the playoffs, Van Pelt isn’t offended to think that the crowd didn’t take much notice, enamored that they were with Fowler.
“If he’s the future of golf, then golf is in good hands,” Van Pelt said after watching yet another PGA Tour day filled with those flat-billed, colorful Puma hats pulled down tight. It’s impossible to not notice, Van Pelt said.
“Hey, my kids are the same way. I’ve got probably eight of those Puma hats for my sons and my nephews.”
Now Van Pelt, 36, and Fowler, 22, may be a half-generation apart, but they are connected forever with their Oklahoma State allegiance. It’s through the Stillwater deal that they’ve known each other for a while and Van Pelt doesn’t deny that he’s impartial. He’s a huge fan.
Fact is, he’s not alone, and that strikes at the heart of the enjoyment of watching the Fowler gallery. There was a mother yesterday who had three young boys with her, each with a Fowler Puma hat, one orange, one purple, one white. When at the 13th green Fowler’s caddie, Joe Skovron, tossed a ball toward the three boys and they secured the prize, you could have thought that Powerball had been hit. There was a similar reaction at the 16th tee when Fowler bumped fists with a young boy, to which was added this comment: “Hey, Rickie, can you hook me up with your broken tee?”
Skovron is used to it, yet that doesn’t mean he’s not amazed, both by the overwhelming affection galleries have toward Fowler and the unfailing respect that his player constantly extends to fans, especially the young ones.
“He handles it all so well,” Skovron said. “He’s genuine.”
Just as genuine is this – the kid’s got game. Lots of game. And the fact that he seems to execute with such flair, enthusiasm, and passion makes him even easier to embrace. You can be safe in assuming tournament officials here at TPC Boston are smiling at the prospects of Fowler remaining in the hunt for that elusive first PGA Tour win.
“In the first two rounds, obviously you can’t really win it,” Fowler said. “But we’ve put ourselves in good position.”
Indeed he has, thanks to a bogey-free trip of 4 under 67 that has him 7 under halfway through the second FedEx Cup playoff tournament. But while there was much to like about the way Fowler began the day – four birdies in eight holes – perhaps what was more impressive is the way he held things together over the final 10 holes when he unleashed a few loose drives and a couple scratchy shots.
“I agree,” Skovron said. “Those are what keep rounds going. Inside of 15 feet he’s been terrific for two days.”
Suddenly struggling to make birdies, Fowler starting at the ninth hole was instead forced to lag putt from extreme lengths. He two-putted for par from 80 feet at the ninth, 98 feet at the 10th, 49 feet at the par 3 11th, and 67 feet at the 12th. Mixing the formula up a bit, he saved par from a greenside bunker at the 13th, but negotiated another long two-putt at the 14th, this time from 42 feet.
“Slowed down a bit the last 10 holes,” Fowler said. “(But) I made some good up-and-downs and kept the round going.”
No save was better than the one at the 15th, because Fowler caught a flyer from the right rough and flew the green from 130 yards and opted to play a flop shot that would have made Phil Mickelson proud. Some 50 feet from the hole, Fowler hoisted his shot a mile high and it came to rest within inches.
For all the times it is mentioned that Fowler needs to finally win, that you don’t want the top 10s to pile up too high (he’s at 13), easily lost is this: The young man is in just his 53rd PGA Tour tournament as a professional and two years ago at this time he was prepping for a Walker Cup date at Merion.
Patience, patience, and focus instead on the sort of skill sets that Fowler brings to the course. At 17, for instance, a splendid par 4 of 412 yards where the fairway winds around rocks and bunkers both left and right, Fowler hit a sizzling knock-down tee shot that came to rest 256 yards away, center cut. But at 18, a par 5 that can be attacked, Fowler launched it high and far, a blast that covered 334 yards.
OK, so he didn’t take advantage, because a 7 iron from 199 yards landed woefully short.
“It didn’t come out as we’d hoped,” Skovron said.
But true to the way in which he played, Fowler deftly two-putted from 41 feet to run his bogey-free stretch to 24 holes.
And true to the way in which the PGA Tour landscape is turning more colorful every week, the orange, green, yellow, white, blue, and purple Puma hat crowd saluted their hero.