No one reps their alma mater with more vigor than Rickie Fowler. By know, you’re probably aware of the all-orange ensemble he wears on Sundays — a nod to Oklahoma State University — the “Pistol Pete” emblazoned on his staff bag and custom Cowboy-inspired wedges that frequent the club setup.
But did you know Fowler added another piece of Oklahoma State flair to his bag at Pebble Beach? There’s a good chance you likely missed it unless you were looking closely.
Fowler returned to his usual Newport 2 GSS putter at the U.S. Open — he gave the backup a shot at Memorial — but had Cameron reps make one minor tweak to the face that had nothing to do with loft or lie angle.
To pay tribute to his alma mater, Fowler requested that the white dot located on the heel — known to Cameron fanatics as a “cherry bomb” — be painted orange.
On television, the dot almost looks red, but Cameron Tour rep Drew Page confirmed it’s most definitely Oklahoma State orange.
The “cherry bomb” was popularized by Tiger Woods, who started using the Newport 2 GSS in 1999 at the then-GTE Bryson Nelson Classic. Prior to shipping the putter to Woods, Cameron noticed the head weight was two swing-weight points too heavy, which led him to mill a dot in the back cavity and another in the heel of the face to get the weight just right.
Fowler’s putter has similar dots in the cavity and face, but that’s not the only connection this particular flatstick has to the 15-time major winner’s prized Newport 2.
As the story goes, Fowler made a trip to Cameron’s putter studio prior to the 2014 season to analyze his putting stroke and mechanics. While looking for a putter, Fowler and Paul Vizanko, Cameron’s fitting specialist, made a trip to the department’s mezzanine to see if there was anything that caught his eye.
What they found in an old box could best be described as hitting the putter lottery. Inside were a few Newport 2 GSS putters once reserved for Woods. Although the putters look almost identical to the standard Newport 2, there were some subtle adjustments made to the neck placement, bumper radius and face depth that was made shallower for more consistent contact at the ball’s equator. Fowler has been using this particular version for the last five years.
The putter was extra-special before this week, but now it has a special touch to remind Fowler of his alma mater when he’s standing over must-make putts. So far, the cosmetic touch seems to be working.