Rickie Fowler used to be known as the guy with the over-the-top bright orange outfits and hats. The 26-year-old now known for a different reason: He’s one of the best golfers in the world — a status he was able to enhance by becoming the 2015 Players Champion.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Quieted His Doubters By Winning the Players
Fowler was able to quiet some of his doubters by winning the 2015 Players championship, his first victory at one of golf’s top tournaments, while he has still not won a major tournament, and it was only his second career victory.
The 26-year-old was recently voted by his fellow players as one of the most overrated golfers on the PGA Tour, tying for that unwanted distinction with Ian Poulter.
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2. He’s Toned Down His Wardrobe Significantly
Fowler’s wardrobe is hardly stale and boring. But Fowler, who used to routinely play decked out in flamboyant colors from head to toe, has made a concerted effort to be known more for his golf game than for his wardrobe.
USA Today’s Christine Brennan writes that Fowler expressed his desire to get serious in a phone conversation in December 2013 with coach Butch Harmon.
“I want to be known more for my golf than my clothes and my hat,” he said, according to Brennan. “I want to contend in majors.”
During his Players championship victory on Sunday, Fowler dropped his traditional Sunday orange for pink, in honor of his mother.
3.He’s Part Japanese & His Middle Name Is Yutaka
Fowler’s mom, Lynne, is half Japanese and half Navajo, and Rickie’s middle name — Yutaka — comes from his maternal grandfather, Taka Tanaka.
According to his PGA Tour bio, Fowler’s dad, Rod, owns a trucking company and was once a competitive dirt biker who won the Baja 1000 in 1986 while racing for the Yamaha team.
Rickie himself was a serious dirt biker until an accident he got into when he was a freshman in high school left him with broken bones in his foot.
4. He Played at Oklahoma State & Helped Lead the USA to 2 Walker Cup Titles
Fowler played for one season at Oklahoma State University, where he earned the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman in 2007-08.
Golfweek named Fowler its national player of the year, and he was also named player of the year and newcomer of the year in the Big 12.
5. He Is Dating Model Alexis Randock
He is dating model Alexis Randock, an Arizona State graduate and bikini model.