Course of Style: The Winds of Fashion at the U.S. Open

Course of Style: The Winds of Fashion at the U.S. Open

Graeme McDowell looked cozy and relaxed all week at Pebble Beach.
Kohjiro Kinno/SI

The windswept conditions at Pebble Beach changed the “script,” or storyboarded clothing plan, for many of the golfers at the U.S. Open. It turned into the Sweater Open, as the players had to pull on knitwear or thermal pullovers for most of the weekend. It was kind of a relief, stylewise, not to have to look at the usual endless sea of golf shirts over and over again.

The winner, Graeme McDowell,  looked calm and collected the entire weekend. Perhaps it was no coincidence that he wore a classic, low-key Perry Como look, a buttoned-up cardigan sweater, all four days. Maybe he just lulled the rest of the field to sleep. You don’t see many cardigans on tour anymore. On Sunday McDowell matched his dove-gray sweater with a peach golf shirt, cream trousers, and white shoes — a sophisticated color harmony and not bad at all. (McDowell’s clothes come from Louis Copeland and Sons of Dublin; the golf shoes from Stuburt of Manchester, England).

Other sartorial notables on the Pebble cliffs: Tiger Woods in totally beige mode for his Saturday breakout, when he wore fluid ecru trousers, a form-fitting tan sweater, and a white golf shirt. This was Woods at his most stylish. He looked very cool during his big charge. Ernie Els wore a similar look while struggling on Sunday.

Taking a page out of the Gary Player book, numerous golfers wore all black on various days of the tournament, including Woods on Sunday (except for the red shirt); Ian Poulter on Saturday; Alex Cejka, who also wore a black knit watchcap from time to time; and Japanese teen phenom Kyo Ishigawa, who wore striking black-and-white plaid trousers Saturday. The kid has plenty of fashion snap to go along with his high-powered game. Phil Mickelson wore a black shirt for his final round, but the white striped trousers did not do him any favors.

In the early rounds, one look was everywhere: a black sweater vest over short-sleeved white golf shirt and either gray or black trousers. A dozen players were turned out this way in the early going. It is not an outfit a guy is likely to wear in everyday life, but it is easy to see why it is a perfect fashion accommodation for seaside summer golf. The close-fitting vest keeps the body core warm but, paired with a short-sleeve golf shirt, allows for freedom of movement.

Finally, leave it to a Frenchman, the surprising No. 2 finisher Gregory Havret, to achieve a special level of sartorial ease and elegance. The guy, ranked 391st in the world, looked extremely good throughout, especially on the final day in his mélange of gray, wearing his countryman Rene Lacoste’s signature crocodile while outplaying le Tigre — and almost everyone else.