Why tour pros are wearing shorts.
Modernity versus tradition is how many are framing the debate over whether professional golfers should be allowed to wear shorts during practice rounds and in pro-am competitions. That said, practicality is why the European Tour gave its consent to golfers to show more skin. Hot weather in events in Thailand and Abu Dhabi led to the decision that made trousers optional, a practice that new European Tour chief Keith Pelley says won’t spill into tournament rounds in the foreseeable future. The positive reception from players – among them veterans Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Ernie Els – got the rule formalised, and the reaction from Jordan Spieth helped lead the discussion across the Atlantic to the PGA Tour. “I think it’s awesome,” said Spieth. “It will be something that I’d love to see on the PGA Tour as well.” Don’t count on it, as PGA Tour officials reiterated that their dress code remains unchanged. Same for The R& A with regards the Open Championship. But while both governing bodies will be called priggish, their real intent is to make sure that players from the top professional tours keep looking identifiably different from golfers at every other level of the game. The issue really isn’t modernity versus tradition. It’s about holding on to a distinctive appearance that, overly dressed for the weather or not, clearly identifies the world’s best. In short, a business decision. – Ryan Herrington