By Fatiha Betscher, Muscat, Oman.
Allowing players to wear shorts in this early part of a new season is to be applauded.
The Asian Tour has now ruled to allow their players the choice in all but a few events to wear shorts in the sauna-like conditions of the Middle East, and then when the Tour heads into the heat and extreme humidity of Asia.
You can look back to November 2016 when the Sunshine Tour and European Tour first allowed the wearing of shorts for all days of a tournament at Leopard Creek, the venue for the Alfred Dunhill Championship while it was also a practice in place at the same co-sanctioned event and on the same course last December..
Indeed, players have been clearly delighted to wear shots recently in the Asian Tour season-opening Saudi International and then at last week’s inaugural hosting of the International Series Oman, on the Al Mouj laid-out along the Gulf of Oman and where you would expect to be wearing shorts.
We’ve also seen the DP World Tour allow its members to wear shorts for the hosting of both the Singapore Classic and this coming week’s Thailand Classic in what was a sensible decision considering the heat and humidity in that part of the globe.
The 2023 LIV Golf Series will commence at the end of this month and it will be a scenario of who will not be wearing shorts when competition kick-starts in sun-splashed Mayako in Mexico.
However, not all tours are on the same page when it comes to the wearing of shorts with the PGA Tour clearly against Tour members wearing shorts, including last week’s WM Phoenix Open where temperatures have not been all that high averaging in the mid to late 60s.
The practical decision to allow the wearing of shorts on the Asian Tour was discussed with Tour Commissioner Cho Minn Thant over a coffee at the recent Saudi International.
“Allowing our members to wear shorts commenced at the Saudi International and came about through our new TPC (Tournament Players Committee) who voted in travelling to playing destinations where it is very warm, and also taking a look at the wearing of shorts by LIV players, that players be allowed to wear shorts,” said Cho.
“There was always this debate that wearing shorts will make the players less professional but in a climate like tropical south-east Asia and hot destinations like you find in the Middle East, it just makes sense.
“It’s a local tournament rule that they are allowed to wear shorts but there will be some countries where the particular golf association and/or the golf club or the sponsor may not allow it but largely, yes they will be allowed to wear shorts.
“If you look at tennis which is another prestigious sport, and you look at the All England Tennis Club, the men are allowed to wear shorts and men’s pro golf is no less prestigious.
“So, the Asian Tour has no issues with our members wearing shorts. What will need to do initially is to make sure the players are tucking their shirts into their shorts and still look professional, and if they are wearing shorts and they look neat-and-tidy there is no issue, at all.”
And in speaking to the players wearing shorts, they’re delighted to be now feeling more comfortable walking the fairways with the sun on their legs.
Sergio Garcia –
“I love playing golf in shorts. Whenever I am at home and on a golf course, I’m always wearing shorts. The way I look at the players now being allowed to wear shorts, is that I feel it brings us closer to the amateurs. In visiting your normal golf club or country club, and if the weather is decent, you’ll see probably 90& of the male golfers are wearing shorts.
“So, I feel the decision we have at LIV events to wear shorts and now with the Asian Tour allowing players to wear shorts, brings the pros closer to them.
“At the end of the day, the game of golf is trying to improve, get better and move with the times and it’s a very smart move and while it’s been very hot out here in Saudi and the wearing of shorts if to be applauded, it also gets very hot at tour location on the PGA Tour and in Europe, so it would definitely be a smart move to allow the wearing of shorts also on those tours.”
Louis Oosthuizen –
“It’s been a great move and I didn’t even bring trousers with me (smiling). You want the amateurs to feel that bit closer to the pro golfers, and I just feel the decision by the Asian Tour is a great move. We’ve been wearing shorts on the LIV Tour and the reception from everyone has been nothing but positive.
“I hate playing golf in trousers and every chance I get, I’ll be playing in shorts.
“We played at the last year at Leopard Creek and were allowed to wear shorts, and while it can be a bit chilly in the mornings there is the option, if you like, to still wear trousers so I can’t see any problem with each of the tour’s allowing players to play in shorts.
“Of course, there is tour stops like Augusta, the Open Championship and other tournaments where you are expected to wear trousers but there is other locations throughout the year where shorts should be an option and get away from the kind of all-white, long trousers and so on they had in place at the All England Tennis Club.
“Also, you will also notice that many of the players have much lighter and much smaller golf bags which also is making it easier for the caddies, so men’s professional golf is changing, and for the better.”
PGA Tour –
In 2019 the PGA Tour’s Player Appearance guidelines will allow players to wear golf shorts during practice and pro-am rounds, effective immediately.
The change applies only to tournaments operated on the six tours under the PGA Tour umbrella.
Per the guideline, shorts must be knee-length, tailored and neat in appearance. Compression leggings worn underneath shorts must be solid in color.
Long pants remain required for all official competition rounds.
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