A tip of the hat to Ryan Moore, the 26-year-old pro who tied for sixth at the FBR Open over the weekend. Not just for his best finish of 2009, his four consecutive rounds in the 60s, or his near hole-in-one—but for his fashion courage.
For the second week in a row, Moore, who is from the Seattle area, wore a sweater vest, short-sleeve shirt and a thin necktie, pulled down from the collar, in a rather loose evocation of Bobby Jones or Tommy Armour. Practically no one wears ties these days on the course (especially in the Arizona sunshine), although they were ubiquitous in the golden age of golf. The dynamics of aspirational golfwear have changed. It used to be that professional golfers emulated the moneyed aristocracy in their style of dress. Now the affluent country club golfer looks to the pros, who often dress down.
Moore’s necktie presentation wasn’t exactly Fred Astaire (who was an excellent golfer, by the way). It was a skinny black knit that looked a bit askew, as ties scrunched around the collar of a dark blue, short-sleeve, non-dress shirt will do.
Another intersting aspect of Moore’s look is that it’s logo-less. While he does have a glove and ball deal with Callaway, he is not currently endorsing clubs or other products that might require him to have patches or symbols on his hat, shirts or golf bag. Everything Moore is wearing these days—he says—has been paid for by him. Moore says he likes the logo-less look, but if he continues to play well, don’t be surprised if a company or two don’t try to buy their way into his graces.
Speaking of old-style golf clothes, Ralph Dunning, the president and founder of Dunning Golf sees a return of vintage preppy looks to the course.
“Young players are starting to dress up again, which is great,” Dunning said in his company’s booth at the PGA Merchandise Show last week, surrounded by shirts and sweaters emblazoned with raised “D” lettering in the collegiate or prep-school manner. “In recent years, guys have dressed poorly. Dressing classic is becoming fashionable again.”
Dunning, a former bicycle racer who applied the principles of dressing for cycling to the golf world, in no way discounts the influence of performance fabrics and technology in golf apparel. Indeed, he incorporates them not only in the golf and ski clothes his company makes, but also in the non-sports attire, including dress shirts.
Dunning makes a rather complete line of button-down dress shirts, in stripes and solids, for wearing off course or even to the office. These shirts are made with a version of the same Coolmax fabric—a breathable, moisture-wicking cotton developed for sports use—that is found in the golf shirts.
Is that smart or what? We say we want these sweatproof, antimicrobial (smellproof) fabrics for sports, but the playing fields are really the only place where showing a little sweat is unimportant. The office is another matter. Applying today’s refined shirt technology to office clothes seems to make a great deal of sense.
SHARK MOVES ON
As reported here last week, the Greg Norman Collection has been acquired from MacGregor Golf. The new owner is the Tharanco Group, which intends to expand the Norman brand globally and into non-golf “lifestyle” areas, according to the press release formally announcing the sale.
The CEO of the Greg Norman Collection, Michael Setola, will remain CEO and a partner in the new company, Tharanco Lifestyle, LLC. The Greg Norman Collection was established in 1992.
“Golf is the fabric of my life,” said Tom Watson, eight-time major champion. They were perfect bon mots for the occasion, a breakfast held by Polo/Ralph Lauren, his golf apparel sponsor. Watson also spoke about the importance of “maintaining the integrity of the game” and avoiding “the crassness of other sports.” He was a living advertisement for tradition and style in a blue blazer, tan gabardine trousers, and soft brown loafers. Speaking of a recent tournament, he said, “I didn’t play well, but I looked good.”
There is always that.
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