Tiger Woods has been sporting a new look on the course — white belts, mesh caps, ultra-bright shirts — nothing too radical or in your face, surely, but different. At the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai this week, he again wore the white belt — a big change for him, according to his apparel handlers at Nike — as well as electric green and pink golf shirts. He was also working on a few day’s growth of circle whiskers (known in beard parlance as a “Van Dyke” or “Hollywoodian”). Executives at Nike Golf said last week in New York that Woods has been expressing a desire to change his look this fall.
“Tech me out,” Woods said, according to Nike execs who met with him recently, meaning that he wanted to try more exotic, technical fabrics and performance clothes. For a long time, Woods’ signature look has included plenty of mercerized cotton shirts — that is, made from cotton yarn that has been polished during processing to give it a silky sheen. “He was starting to get tired of them,” said a Nike executive, who added that Woods in the past has been very slow to change. “He’s always had a real safe look that works for him.”
The new Tiger will be wearing “brighter, jewelly colors” like sapphire and will add technical touches, like the mesh caps and shirts with no-sew (seamless) button plackets and polished black snaps instead of buttons. Among his pre-scripted looks for the 2011 Masters, for example, is a very bold, green, asymmetric, vertical striped shirt in Nike’s high-performance polyester Dri-Fit fabric.
Woods enjoys a reputation as one the best-dressed guys on tour, and remains a pretty traditional guy. But he recognizes it’s time to move forward. “He wouldn’t change for change’s sake,” said Doug Reed, director of golf apparel at Nike. “He’s just been looking for a slightly new look.”