Kaymer’s mysterious Match Play neckwear could catch on

Martin Kaymer wore a "Black Fly Buff" on Saturday at the Accenture Match Play.
Robert Beck/SI

It was the scarf that was not a scarf.

World No. 1 Martin Kaymer strode down the windy desert course at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Saturday while sporting a piece of mysterious neckwear that left viewers wondering. Was it an ascot? A neck warmer? An Arab keffiyeh? Or some sort of strange European metrosexual fashion accessory that the Sacha Baron character in Bruno might wear?

Whatever. Kaymer looked awfully calm and collected in closing out Bubba Watson, prompting comparisons to the suave, ascot-wearing Cary Grant in 'To Catch a Thief'.

Turns out Kaymer’s neckpiece was neither an ascot nor a scarf, but something called a Black Fly Buff, designed by Vaughn Cochran, a Florida Keys fishing guide. Its primary purpose is to protect fly fishermen from sunburn, but it is rather like a skier’s neck warmer and is used in other athletic activities (Kaymer mentioned its popularity in soccer).

The “buff” is just a circle of cloth printed in a fly-lure pattern and made of Coolmax Extreme, a fabric with excellent moisture-wicking and UV-screening properties (95 percent UV protection). It costs $23. Unlike an ascot or even bandana, which you need to tie just so — and which might seem a bit fussy on the golf course — the Kaymer neckwear is a performance piece that can be rolled up or down to protect the face from the elements as needed. Looks like something that could catch on.