Show some leg
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Every April, one simple phrase spoken by golf’s favorite wordsmith, Jim Nantz, awakens golf fans from their winter slumber. “Hello friends.” So allow me to invoke that hallowed expression and say “hello friends,” and welcome to the Golf page of the We Went To College Together Blog and Life Forum. Before I delve into my maiden post (aside from the compilation of the most stimulating and awe-inspiring shot shape in this great game- the Tiger Stinger) I wanted to introduce myself and a few key ideas that you as readers may appreciate:
The Big Cat is back.
Johnny Miller sucks.
The European tour on Saturday and Sunday mornings should be part of your weekend routine.
The Masters is a holiday.
The US Open shall never be referred to as “The Open.”
And Johnny Miller still sucks.
I am a semi-retired college golfer who continues to chase the dream of pegging it on the highest level by playing a few competitive circuits and USGA events each year. Ask any of my golfing compatriots, including fellow contributor and college golf teammate Matthew Loberg, I am oddly opinionated when it comes to golf. I can be caught checking my backswing positions in most reflective surfaces. And my putter- her name is Caroline- is the closest thing I have found to a soul mate.
Now onto the main course: tour dress code.
In January 2016 the European Tour introduced a policy allowing players to rock shorts during tournament practice rounds and pro-ams. The move received broad praise from players, but the news quickly flamed out back in the States after filling a few media segments for the talking heads. Plus, later than month Jordan Spieth kicked off the 2016 PGA Tour season by winning the Tournament of Champions by approximate a million shots and challenged the all time lowest tour score to par in the process, so there were more pressing topics to discuss. But clearly some golf higher-ups noted the positive feedback from across the pond. Just one year later the PGA Championship (readers take note, I am about to compliment the PGA Championship) instituted a similar policy allowing players to shine some sun on those calves during practice rounds.
The move by the Europeans and the folks at the PGA is not the only effort to modernize golf apparel, but it is the most significant step taken by a managing organization. Individual players and companies have also attempted to change the wardrobe landscape. Rickie Fowler- mostly good. Nike golf- mostly bad. While we are on Nike golf, lets just take a moment to consider the recent Nike apparel line that appears to have been designed by a third grader that was given a 64 pack of crayons with all the primary colors snapped in half. And the faux collars and uniforms… seriously?! Watch the tour during any marquee event or a major; all the Nike guys are dressed head to toe in the exact same ensemble. It’s a good way to sell shirts, but it looks like the players couldn’t dress themselves. Next time Nike wants to coordinate stubborn subordinates into matching outfits it should have twins. But I digress.
While in the throws of a larger campaign to modernize and grow the game allowing shorts may seem like a trivial and peripheral measure, but it is a small move that could go a long way. It makes golf more inviting to a younger generation and tones down the formality that often wafts around country clubs. Despite commissioner Jay Monahan’s opposition, the vast majority of players are in favor. Just last week in a presser leading up to the Memorial, Tiger Woods lent his support to a “shorts during practice rounds policy.” The LPGA has long allowed shorts and skirts. Golfers at the high school, college, mini-tour, and elite amateur level are allowed to wear shorts in competition. And the PGA tour will soon fall in line. There is no harm done, no professionalism scarified by allowing pros to show a bit of leg, at least during practice rounds.