There were a lot of well-dressed players in round one of the U.S. Open, but no one stood out from the crowd like Rickie Fowler. Fowler donned a pair of knickers and argyle socks in honor of the late Payne Stewart, who captured the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

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“This week you can’t help but think about Payne Stewart and his win at the ’99 US Open. I thought wearing the knickers, a look he was so famous for, would be a nice way to honor and remember such a huge golf icon, and someone I’ve always admired and looked up to. He had such an impact on the game both on and off the course; always gracious, win or lose. We will all be thinking about him this week.” — Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter are the two most polarizing players on the Tour from a style standpoint. There’s no shortage of opinions on their sartorial choices, but it was hard to find anything other than positive comments about Fowler’s knickers.

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Rickie’s opening round look took creativity, imagination and a lot of guts. Small details like the pleats and the argyle socks showed that Fowler really put some thought into this tribute.

It would have been easy and safe for Rickie to stuff his pants legs into high socks for a round or have Puma Golf create a replica of one of Stewart’s outfits from 1999. The great thing about Fowler’s look, though, was that it was his own. It was a modern, edgy and sporty spin on Stewart’s distinctive style. Sure, a Tam o’Shanter or driving cap would have been a more natural fit than the flat bill hat, but then it wouldn’t have been Rickie.

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Fowler is often criticized for not respecting the traditions of the game, but his opening round ensemble shows that he has a keen understanding of golf’s history. Payne Stewart brought a unique style to the game, just as Fowler does now. The game has been lucky to have both of them. Let’s appreciate their individual styles.

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