What started as a concession last month allowing some professional European golfers to wear shorts to practice during the EurAsia Cup has led many question one of professional golf’s most long-lasting traditions: the ban on shorts during competition.
The PGA Tour has forbidden the wearing of shorts during competition among its players so they maintain a professional appearance even though female players in the LPGA are allowed to wear shorts. While the PGA said it doesn’t expect to change the shorts rule any time soon, some players say a change allowing players to bare their legs in the typically hot climates in which they play would be a welcome change, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“They say it’s not professional,” pro Pat Perez told the Journal. “But the sport has changed, whether people like it or not. It’s not your old, stiff country club anymore.”
The standard for a professional uniform to play 18 holes has changed a lot since the early 1900s when players wore heavy tweed jackets and sometimes neckties. Now players are known as much for their outlandish attire as their skill, such as Rickie Howler, who is known both as the No. 4 player in the world and for wearing high-tops and jogging pants to play.
“Maybe 20 years ago, you didn’t want to see guys in shorts out here,” two-time tour winner Matt Every told the Journal. “But I think as far as aesthetics, to the eye, I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 13, 2016
About a week after the EurAsia cup last month, the European Tour allowed players to wear shorts in Abu Dhabi during practice rounds given the heat. While there recently has been more acceptance among pros toward wearing shorts, many players have been wearing shorts to practice for years, Golf Channel reported.
Shorts were allowed on the professional course for the first time in 1999 when a caddie collapsed, and his heart stopped in 106-degree heat, Golf Digest reported.