A classic, unquantifiable sports debate; who had a greater impact on the other’s career: Joe Montana or Jerry Rice? Tom Brady or Bill Belichick? Would one man’s achievement be as impressive if they were not linked to the other person?
At GolfThreads we have very similar, albeit significantly more important, philosophical discussions.
In 2019 we celebrated Rickie Fowler and PUMA Golf’s ten-year partnership and it made us ponder, would Rickie have become the unrivaled golf style icon of the PGA Tour without PUMA? Could PUMA have become a leader in golf apparel innovation, design, and style without Rickie?
Despite countless hours of banter, many cups of really strong black coffee and even Greg’s insistence that applying the principles of Occam’s razor would solve this burning golf fashion question, we came to a conclusion. This is simply unanswerable…
We did agree on one thing! GolfThreads should close out the decade with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize Rickie and PUMA’s contributions to golf fashion. Enjoy a stroll down memory lane.
2009–New Kid On The Block
Check it out, yo! Back in the day, Rick wore snowboarding pants on the course.
The military-style hat was dope. His flow was on point, too. As a result, Rickie became a bit of a heart-throb with the ladies. I wish I had that hair…
2010–Color Me Badd
In 2010 we saw an array of bold colors on the course that turned the golf world upside down. Rickie also introduced us to what would become his signature style Puma hat.
2011–Orange Is The New Black
Orange became the new black. Every tournament I watched for the next half dozen years was full of kids (and adults) adorned in head-to-toe orange.
Rickie had a penchant for wearing blue monochromatic kits that made him look like a smurf. Yet, somehow he still looked cool.
Rickie may have the boy band good-looks but he does NOT have the chops. The jury is still out on his dance moves, though. The Golf Boys were created and they released their first video, “Oh Oh Oh.” Watch at your own risk.
He continued to challenge the golf fashion norms by adding color at every turn. We also saw Rickie sport some scruff.
2013–Jackson Pollock Era
The Jackson Pollock paint splatter era was one of my favorites. This kit is legit. You cannot see it in this picture but Rickie’s shoes had the same design as his hat and belt. This look was first introduced at the 2013 U.S. Open. Rickie apparently helped design the items by chipping paint-covered golf balls onto a black canvas, thus creating paint splatter lines. PUMA then used these splatters to create complementary pieces to his wardrobe.
I’ve always thought purple is such a great color for Fowler. However, I began to notice as I looked at thousands of pictures that Rickie has a short torso and looks best when his belt matches his shirt. It creates an illusion of symmetry between the upper and lower body.
Rickie gets a boy’s regular haircut for the 2014 season. For the Ryder Cup, he goes high and tight (and patriotic) and looks great.
This PUMA Golf polo reminds me of the screensaver on my computer in college. I loved that screensaver and I love this polo. My pick for the best PUMA polo of 2014!
In 2015 we saw Rickie tone it down, just a bit. He often worked in greys for a slightly more sophisticated style.
Rickie practiced with the Red Sox prior to a game against the Yankees and then went on to win the Deutsche Bank Championship a few days later. Coincidence? I think not.
2016–Tattoos & Hightops
“Tattoos & Hightops” sounds like it would be a really cool name for a punk rock band, doesn’t it? In 2016 Fowler continued to push the envelope of golf fashion norms by wearing hightops and joggers on the course. We also saw him add to his collection of visible ink.
Rickie has five visible tattoos. Most recently the Olympic Rings on his right forearm that he had done after the 2016 games in Rio. Barely visible on the inside of his left wrist (often covered by his glove) is the signature of his late swing coach, Barry McDonnell. On the inside of his left bicep is the name of his maternal grandfather, Yukata Tanaka in Japanese script. On his right wrist is a tiny “F.” Finally, the coolest of them all is the “G” near his left elbow. This is in honor of Georgia Veach, daughter of a Seattle-based pastor Rickie met through fellow Golf Boy, Bubba Watson. Georgia was diagnosed at four months old with a rare brain disorder. Interestingly, pop superstar, Justin Bieber also has the same “G” tattoo.
Six months after the death of Arnold Palmer, Rickie Fowler and PUMA Golf used apparel as a way to pay tribute to the golfing legend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Hands down, one of the coolest moments in golf fashion. Rickie’s PUMA hightops were used as a canvas to honor The King. Quite a moment, indeed.
In 2017 PUMA Golf introduced its EVOKNIT and Volition America collections. I always thought that the EVOKNIT line was a fantastic performance golf shirt. It still gets regular play in my rotation.
2018–Coming of Age
2018 was Rickie’s last year in his 20’s. Consequently, we began to see a seismic shift in his on-course apparel. You can see from the pictures below that he looks “older” and more “grown-up” both physically and style-wise.
PUMA introduced a new signature cap for Rickie Fowler, the P Snapback Cap. Another small step in the maturation and evolution of Rick’s style.
Fowler and PUMA continued collaborating on tributes. This time to his grandfather’s Japanese heritage with the Aloha Collection.
One of the most influential people in my life and the one who introduced me to the game, my grandpa….Rickie Fowler
They continued to blow up traditional golf fashion norms! The Aloha Woven Shirt he wore in Hawaii had social media abuzz. Some traditionalists hated the untucked button-up, but I loved it, especially for this setting. Side note, Rickie received special permission from the PGA Tour to wear an untucked shirt.
PUMA celebrated its ten-year partnership with Rickie Fowler by releasing the X Collection. I love this concept. It fuses progressive design and classic style. Obviously, X represents the number 10 in roman numerals. Less obvious is the idea of the “X-Factor;” a quality that you cannot describe, it is what makes someone very special. I’d say that Rickie Fowler possesses a certain “X-Factor.”
Let me leave you with one last tidbit. Rickie won the Deutsche Bank Championship days after wearing a Red Sox uniform. He also won the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open while wearing a Tom Brady jersey on the sixteenth hole at the practice round.