Course of Style: Masters fashion went from NASCAR to the beachcomber look

Thursday April 15th, 2010
Phil Mickelson Sunday at Augusta National
Al Tielemans/SI

The chips were falling and the eagles flying, but how did the golfers look? Unlike the spectacular level of play, there were few fireworks on the fashion front at Augusta last weekend. Among the leaders (practically the only players shown on television), the look was subdued and athletic. A closer-fitting golf shirt seemed to rule the day.

Phil Mickelson in his tight, buttoned-down-collar shirts (said to be designed by Tom Ford) looked fine, especially on the final day. All black suits him. Both Mickelson and Anthony Kim wore golf shirts with contour piping detail during the tournament. These shirts provide a sewn-in athletic stripe that tapers at the waist, resulting in a trimmer look.

Ryan Moore played very well, but his gutsy look — wearing a four-in-hand tie — may be starting to wear a little thin. He got his colors wrong and tended to look a bit motley. Sartorially brash, but no Bobby Jones.

Another one of the few guys who look different and make a point of it is Ian Poulter. Yes, the hair is all spiked up and the colors are at times strong. But he always looks like a golfer. Tartan plaid pants are very golf, in an old-fashioned way.

Lee Westwood (right) played like a star but had the NASCAR look going, with his sponsor logos — United Parcels, Dunlop, PING — emblazoned all over the place. The golfer as signage. Don't you think that non-golf sponsors seem a bit out of place on the course?

Meanwhile, Fred Couples, who wears Ashworth clothing, really seemed like a guy out enjoying a beautiful round of golf in comfortable, loose, classic clothes. That's how you want to look and feel, relaxed and completely in harmony with your surroundings. As GOLF.com pointed out, the effect was heightened by his shoes — ECCO's new "street" golf shoes, which don't have regular spikes, just a pebbly polyurethane tread. He also went without socks, completing the laid-back picture.

A thought: Could it be that Couples has discovered, at 50, that spikeless shoes are easier on the back? It makes a certain amount of sense — less resistance and a tad of rollover during the weight transfer (which probably wouldn't hurt Couples, who has a super-grooved swing).

Might be the beginning of a footwear revolution for us graybeards.

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