2012 Ryder Cup: Style Face-Off

Monday October 1st, 2012

Before the 2012 Ryder Cup began, Golf Magazine's Jessica Marksbury pored over 10 years worth of Ryder Cup uniform photos to declare a winner in the Ryder Cup of Style. But she's not done yet. Every day of the 2012 Cup, she's declaring a style winner and updating the overall standings.

Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Ryder Cup 2012
Watson: Andrew Redington/Getty Images; McIlroy: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Team USA's Sunday garb is good enough to break the tie and reclaim the Cup for the Americans.

SUNDAY
MEDINAH, Ill. -- The decade-long Ryder Cup of Style has been a lot closer than the matches at Medinah this week, with Team Europe and Team USA tied with 11 points each on the last day of competition. The Americans, three points behind as of Wednesday's practice round, have been impressive, donning multiple iterations of Polo Ralph Lauren patriotic apparel, while the Europeans have languished in unflattering shades of brown and pink.

Today, Team Europe is dressed in navy blue pants, white polos and blue sweaters -- a tribute to the Sunday apparel favored by the late great Seve Ballesteros. Team USA is also dressed in navy blue pants, but white shoes and hats and red sweaters offer a more interesting combination. To add further flair, Team USA's polos feature wide blue and white horizontal stripes with a single red stripe across the chest.

The nostalgic tribute to Seve is a nice touch for the Europeans, but there is no denying the dominance of Team USA's style this week. Today's look caps off the best week of Ryder Cup uniforms the Americans have ever had, and there's no question that they deserve today's point. The final score: Team USA 12, Team Europe 11. Congrats, Team USA! We'll look forward to a new style battle in 2014 at Gleneagles.

Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose
Americans: Robert Beck/SI; Europeans: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Americans win today's style battle, tying the overall score.

SATURDAY
MEDINAH, Ill. -- The key to putting together a great Ryder Cup uniform is, first and foremost, selecting colors and silhouettes that will be universally flattering. This year, Team USA has been committed to a fairly conservative color palette (the trusty red, white and blue), and the classic yet modern Polo Ralph Lauren looks that Captain Davis Love III selected have worked beautifully throughout the week. Today, the Americans donned what may be their safest look yet: light gray pants and a navy blue and white striped polo with navy bluehats, sweaters and undershirts. While it’s not flashy, the uniform is well-tailored and appealing.

In yet another baffling color selection, Team Europe went with light gray pants and purple-y pink sweaters and polos with white belts and hats. While Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell routinely sport such vibrant colors on Tour, pink is not a color that works for everyone, and as a team uniform, it’s an exceedingly strange choice for the second day of competition.

Thus, the decision for this point award is an easy one: Team USA all the way! The current score is now tied: Team Europe 11, Team USA 11. Can the Americans cap off their epic comeback with a win tomorrow in this decade-long Ryder Cup of Style? Stay tuned to find out!
 

Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy
Fred Vuich, Robert Beck / SI
It was a style draw on day one at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

FRIDAY
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Team USA's Wednesday uniform paired red pants with navy blue polos and Thursday's look featured white pants and navy blue polos, so it's only natural that today's uniform would feature another patriotic combination. The red, white and blue is again on display: navy blue pants with a subtle white check pattern, paired with white polos and red hats.

Team Europe made up for yesterday's brown-out with a cozy-looking celery green sweater with black stripes under the arms and black pants. Another item worthy of mention is footwear: while each team member is obligated to don the same apparel for the Ryder Cup, the players are free to sport their own shoes. Ian Poulter is particularly coordinated today in one of several pairs of custom Neo Classic ProTypes that Puma made for him. Adidas and Ashworth have also provided custom footwear in team colors to their staffs: Sergio Garcia is in the Adidas Crossflex; Peter Hanson and Dustin Johnson in the Adidas TOUR360 ATV; Martin Kaymer, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in the Adidas Adipure; and Justin Rose in Ashworth's Cardiff model.

Now, to award today's point. I have been a big fan of the U.S. uniforms this week, but despite the novelty of the checked pants, the plain white polo pairing wasn't particularly impressive. As for the Europeans, I think the shade of green they selected is flattering, and the black pants look sharp. Thus, as both teams are inoffensively outfitted today, I have no choice but to call this match a draw and award one point to each team, which allows for plenty of sartorial drama this weekend!
Current score Team Europe 11, Team USA 10

 

U.S., Europe, style
Andy Lyons, Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley had the style edge over the Europeans on Thursday.

THURSDAY
MEDINAH, Ill. -- After winning the Battle of the Wednesday Practice Round and shaving Team Europe's lead to two points yesterday, Team USA is one step closer to an impressive comeback in the Ryder Cup of Style. The week's last practice day offered yet another picture perfect autumnal scene: changing leaves, cool air and warm sunshine, all of which allowed for plenty of wardrobe versatility. Players had the option to don sweater vests, zip-ups or windbreakers, while the super-hardy went bare-armed, sporting only a short sleeve polo.

Team USA continued the patriotic dress theme in red, white and blue, and as those are iconic and oft-used colors for Polo Ralph Lauren, I expect to see that trend continue throughout the week. Today's iteration paired white pants and belts with a navy blue hats and cool navy blue polos with white shoulder stripes and a pop of red underneath each arm, which looks great in photographs of the players in their backswings and follow-throughs. The look as a whole was very sharp and will be tough to beat.

Unfortunately, Team Europe didn't put up much of a fight today. They followed yesterday's blue sweaters and Chicago-skyline polos with shockingly dull brown pants and red polos. While the pairing is a strange choice for a Ryder Cup uniform, I think brown and red is a perfectly acceptable combination under normal circumstances. The addition that really sabotaged the look was the sandy brown vests and sweaters that the team wore over the red polo. Not a good idea! Brown on brown looks dated and decidedly fuddy-duddy. Thus, for the second day in a row, the U.S. is victorious in red, white and blue, and climbs to within one point of Team Europe's overall lead, with competition outfits still to come. Can't wait!
Score: Team Europe 10, Team USA 9.

 

Woods, Stricker, McDowell, McIlroy
Ross Kinnaird, Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Woods, Stricker and the Americans beat the Europeans in style points on Wednesday.


WEDNESDAY
The weather at Medinah remains sunny and mild -- no rain gear in sight! -- and Wednesday’s practice round did not disappoint on the fashion front. With two new looks to analyze, the Ryder Cup of Style continues with Team Europe leading the match with ten points to Team USA’s seven.
 
With country club apparel icon Polo Ralph Lauren at the design helm (and longtime brand endorsee Davis Love III captaining the team), the Americans should have a significant edge over Team Europe this week. Today, the U.S. debuted a stunning patriotic ensemble for the practice round. Sporting red water-resistant pants, navy blue polos and white hats and shoes, the Americans looked trendy, sophisticated and classic all at once. Some players also wore a coordinated zip-up windbreaker in white and navy blue with red accents. The overall look was such a smashing success that I hope the team has something comparably awesome waiting in the wings for the start of competition.
 
After seeing the Americans, I expected to award them a landslide victory point over Team Europe’s seemingly lackluster blue sweaters and white polos, but the Europeans had a trick up their sleeves. Upon further inspection, it was revealed that the design on the front and back of the polos is actually an outline of the Chicago skyline! How sneaky! I’d like to cite a penalty point for unfair pandering, but maybe it was Chicago resident and Northwestern alum Luke Donald’s idea? At any rate, as clever as the Chicago shout-out was, there’s no denying the appeal of America's red, white and blue. Thus, with a win today, the Americans now trail Team Europe by two points.
Score: Team Europe 10, Team USA 8.

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