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Rickie Fowler on knickers: 'It's my way of recognizing Payne [Stewart]'

By Dave Shedloski

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Rickie Fowler always has brought attention to himself with his colorful attire. Thursday morning at Pinehurst Resort was no different, though this time he was offering a nod of respect to one of his favorite players in the process.

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Fowler showed up for the first round of the 114th U.S. Open wearing white knickers (also known as plus-fours) combined with an aqua shirt and argyle socks of aqua, white and orange. Fowler said he was wearing the outfit in honor of the late Payne Stewart, who won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst's No. 2 Course before dying in a plane crash four months later. Stewart was known more for his throwback attire, which included plus-fours and a Tam O'Shanter-type hat, than for his elegant swing or his three major championship victories.

"It's something I've been planning for about a month. It's just my way of recognizing Payne. He was one of my favorite players of all time," said Fowler, 25, playing in his sixth U.S. Open. "I still remember where I was when I heard about the accident. I was in the car with my mom after school. That was a tough day."

Related: Dialogue with Payne Stewart

Fowler said he planned to wear the outfit only for the opening round. He admits he was a little hesitant because he didn't want older players to think he was being disrespectful to Stewart or his memory.

The only other potential problem is that he has only the one pair of knickers. What if he were to shoot a low number in the opening round? Would he become superstitious?

"No problem," he said. "I have a washing machine where I'm staying.”