Rickie Fowler played his first Masters in 2011. This is a taste of what he wore:
Augusta National Golf Club had never seen a player like Rickie Fowler, then 22, with his mix of skill and Cali Swag. The 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year turned heads across the world in his early days, wearing bright colors with flat-brimmed hats, necklaces and bracelets. He had hair flowing in all sorts of directions. For at least the start of Fowler's career, that was his shtick.
In a sport that features collars and khakis, there was sure to be some criticism. One memorable incident actually happened at that first Masters in 2011. Fowler sat down for a press conference and turned his hat backwards, a la Ken Griffey Jr. Augusta National member Ron Townsend instructed Fowler to turn his cap forward, and golf writers immediately questioned if Fowler was purposefully disrespcting the old-fashioned club.
As for the players actually competing against Fowler, the pushback against the Murrieta, California, native was less.
"I don't know if they had any choice," Fowler told ThePostGame this past Tuesday before The Masters. "That's just who I am. Hopefully I still got some of the Cali swag. I had the long hair. I had that for a while, growing up with a motocross background, action sports, not what you'd say is a typical golfer. But I still wanted to fit in with the guys, be well-liked by the other players. I wasn't trying to rub anyone the wrong way. But I didn't want to just try and fit in. I wanted to be myself and be different."
Fowler also earned respect through success on the course. At the 2011 Open Championship, Fowler finished tied for fifth. He won his first PGA Tour event in 2012 at the Wells Fargo Championship. In 2014, he finished in the top five in all four majors. Last year, Fowler jumped to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking and he is currently No. 8. He's won four total PGA tournaments.
Fowler scored individuality points in the wardrobe game. Landing sponsorship deals with Puma and Cobra, Fowler wore such colors as lavender, royal blue, pink and aqua green on a regular basis early in his career. But his trademark became his Sunday orange. An Oklahoma State alum, Fowler consistently donned a full bright orange outfit on Sundays as a PGA Tour youngster. It became regular for Fowler to show up at tournaments with young fans wearing an identical outfit, seeking his autograph.
"I definitely wasn't trying to rebel," Fowler says. "That's just me being me."
As for Fowler's aforementioned extreme sports background, he was a noted motocross enthusiast before turning pro. Fowler even incorporated motocross into some early promotions.
But as he has grown up -- he's 28 now -- his motocross life has waned (and he's cut his hair and dialed down the boisterous clothing).
"I'd love to still be able to ride. I can't say I don't ride. I still, I'll hop on and just go trail riding in the hills, but I'd much rather be in the air."
Poor guy. Fowler hits golf balls hundreds of yards every day for a living, but he wants to be that object flying through the air. And who's going to stop him? He's a golfer. He's his own boss.
"There's nothing exactly in my contracts that say I can't ride, but I've got to stay healthy and there's a little risk involved when riding," he says with a smile.
Fair enough. Considering Fowler is one stroke off the lead entering the final round of this year's Masters, he's doing something correct with his body. For one of the sport's best players without a major trophy next to his name, Fowler might have his moment at Augusta.
Fowler talked with ThePostGame before speaking on a panel with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt at a Mercedes-Benz event near Augusta on Tuesday night. Fowler is a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz and earlier this year, he filmed a spot from Augusta National. The ad, "The Long Drive," was released this past Monday and includes Fowler driving down Magnolia Lane.