What to wear to the U.S. Open

By Win McMurryJune 12, 2011, 2:47 am

“What do you wear to watch golf?'

It’s a question I hear a lot working in the golf industry.

As we near the year’s second major, many in the greater D.C. area may be asking this same question as they prepare to visit Congressional Country Club for this year’s national championship.

Honestly, you see it all out there. That’s probably because many people have no clue what they’re venturing into when they attend a major championship or a PGA Tour event. It’s not a football game. It’s not a tennis match. It’s not the Kentucky Derby. It’s a golf course made up of 18 holes that spans some 7,000 yards and you are expected to walk. It pains me to see women wearing sky high heels and trying to walk the course. That’s an instant giveaway that it’s her first time to a golf tournament and maybe even her first time on a golf course.

So it’s fitting that the first item on my wardrobe list for golf tournaments is comfortable footwear! It’s a challenge because it’s not easy to find cute yet comfy shoes that coordinate with the rest of your spectator outfit.

Elizabeth Noblitt, founder and CEO of www.shishiputter.com, an online ladies golf magazine for golf fashion, equipment, and travel, advises women to, “Please wear the right shoes to watch golf. If you must wear heels, be sure they are wedges so they don't get stuck in the grass.”

She opines that the better option is to wear ballet flats so you don't slide on the grass and take a pair of heels to change into later.

For women, I prefer sandals with a comfortable sole and arch support. They must have a back to them that wraps the ankle so you’re not constantly scrunching your toes to keep the sole to your foot. Thus, flip-flops with flimsy soles are a poor choice.

“Being that it's a televised event, looking and acting your best is always a smart move,” says Noblitt. “Dress and plan for the weather. Wear sunscreen, your favorite sunglasses and bring an umbrella.”

“In the case of bad weather when grounds can be muddy and goopy, pair your outfit with a great pair of wellies. And if weather is gorgeous for your days as a spectator, try cute wedges (not too high) but please no white sneakers,” says Sharon Sunoo, co-founder of women’s golf apparel line Birdy & Grace.

Clean non-flashy tennis shoes or sneakers (not basketball shoes) are appropriate for men. If you’d like to step it up a notch, a sporty loafer is okay as long as it has a durable soft sole.

For men, as well as women, Leif Sunderland of the designer golf wear company Travis Mathew says there’s nothing worse than seeing spectators wearing spikes. “Seriously, do not wear golf shoes unless you’re inside the ropes!”

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take cues from the pros. It is appropriate to wear similar attire to what you’d wear playing golf. For men a nice pressed polo and khaki pants or shorts are the norm. Make sure your clothes are ironed, your shirt is tucked in, and your belt matches. Light colors and earth tones are the best choices for color to keep you cool and to avoid being a distraction. If the weather is not too scorching hot I also favor nice button down shirts with the long sleeves slightly rolled up at the cuff.

“Wear something that will keep you cool but looking sharp,” Noblitt says.

For women, the golf-course-appropriate look that’s both cool and sharp ranges from shorts and polos to tasteful sundresses. Jeans, for both men and women, are acceptable, however I suggest avoiding them as many elite golf courses frown on denim worn inside the clubhouse. While clubhouse access during golf tournaments is usually off-limits to the majority of spectators, you should dress to be appropriate anywhere you may find yourself on the grounds, thus leggings and other tight fitting sportswear are also a poor choice.

For some outfit ideas Noblitt suggests women look to designer Toby Tucker Golf. “The clothes are sophisticated enough that you'll be comfortable no matter who you might meet, appropriate for the occasion, and fashionable.”

Toby Tucker Golf

She suggests something like this red and black striped putting skirt.

“The A-line cut looks great on nearly everyone and it's cotton to keep you cool,” says Noblitt. “Pair it with the black roll-sleeve shirt for an easy summer outfit.”

Similar to Toby Tucker Golf, Birdy & Grace combines a classic golf look with hot trends and functionality for the lady spectator.

“Our long sleeve air polo or our trinity polo offer a slick and sexy look while providing sun protection,” says Sunoo. “Each piece has a fabulous mesh piece along the under part of the arms to offer a cool look while also keeping you cool.”

Birdy & Grace

To complete the look, Sunoo suggests coupling outfits with a great hat like a fedora and short shorts or a skirt.

Hats are vital, especially if you’re sensitive to the sun, but they should not be distracting. For men a golf cap is appropriate, and for women a broad-brimmed hat or fedora is a nice alternative. As for other accessories, remember that large bags are not accepted through the gates and onto the grounds at tournaments. Besides, you do not want to be lugging a large handbag anyway, nor do you want to be holding a clutch all day. I suggest a small purse, no larger than 8x8 inches, with a comfortable strap that can be worn across the chest to keep it secure to your body. Many PGA Tour players’ wives opt not to carry a bag and instead wear a tasteful belted wallet that can be found at Louis Vutton or Gucci.

Cell phones are now accepted, but cameras, video recorders, coolers, and backpacks are not so leave them at home. It’s a good idea also to dress in layers. Carry a light jacket, pullover, or sweater. For women, a pashmina or similar type of scarf is also a great option since it is easy to wrap around your neck when you don’t need it on your arms.


Bottom line when it comes to dressing for watching golf is to be practical, comfortable and respectful.

Here is the Travis Mathew list of 'Dos and Don'ts' for the U.S. Open or any other PGA Tour event.



1. Do not wear golf shoes unless you're inside the ropes

2. Do not wear pants that have multiple colors or other geometric shapes

3. Do not wear any colors that require fellow spectators to wear sunglasses

4. If you're a guy, do not wear tank tops (or t-shirts for that matter) with your favorite saying or sport's team on it


1. For females, do wear heels and sundresses. Look to the Phoenix Open and Byron Nelson for examples.

2. For males, you can't go wrong with black, white, gray or various earth tones. For example, any color that Travis Mathew uses in their collection.

3. Do leave your mock turtlenecks, fanny packs and periscopes at home.

4. And finally, only one person should wear red on Sundays.

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Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:50 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.

Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.

“I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”

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Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.

“[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”

Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.

“He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”

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This week, let the games(manship) begin

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:47 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The gentleman’s game is almost entirely devoid of anything even approaching trash talk or gamesmanship.

What’s considered the norm in other sports is strictly taboo in golf - at least that’s the standard for 51 weeks out of the year. That anomaly, however, can be wildly entertaining.

During Monday’s blind draw to determine this week’s 16 pods, Pat Perez was the first to suggest that this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is the exception to the stoic rule on the PGA Tour.

“Me and Branden [Grace] played a nine-hole match today and were chirping at each other the entire time,” Perez laughed. “Stuff like, ‘go in the trees.’ We were laughing about it, I didn’t get mad, I hit it in the trees.”

Although Perez and Grace may have been on the extreme end of the trash-talk spectrum, it’s widely understood that unlike the steady diet of stroke-play stops in professional golf, the Match Play and the Ryder Cup are both chances to test some of the game’s boundaries.

“There’s been a couple of different instances, both in the Ryder Cup. I can't share them with you, I'm sorry,” laughed Jordan Spieth, before adding. “I think they [the comments] were indifferent to me and helped [U.S. partner Patrick Reed].

Often the gamesmanship is subtle, so much so an opponent probably doesn’t even realize what’s happening.

Jason Day, for example, is a two-time winner of this event and although he was reluctant to go into details about all of his “tricks,” he did explain his mindset if he finds himself trailing in a match.

“Always walk forward in front of the person that you're playing against, just so you're letting them know that you're pushing forward and you're also letting them know that you're still hanging around,” Day explained. “People feed off body language. If I'm looking across and the guy's got his shoulders slumped and his head is down, you can tell he's getting frustrated, that's when you push a little bit harder.”

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Some moments are not so innocent, as evidenced by a story from Paul Casey from a match during his junior days growing up in England.

“I remember a player’s ball was very close to my line, as his coin was very close to my line and we were still both about 10 feet away and he kind of looked at me,” Casey recalled. “I assumed he looked at me to confirm whether his marker was in my line and it needed to be moved. I said, ‘That's OK there.’ So he picked [his coin] up. And then of course he lost his ability to understand English all of a sudden.”

While the exploits this week won’t be nearly as egregious, there have been a handful of heated encounters at the Match Play. In 2015 when this event was played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez went nose to nose when the Spaniard attempted to intervene in a ruling that Bradley was taking and the incident even spilled over into the locker room after the match.

But if those types of encounters are rare, there’s no shortage of mind games that will take place over the next few days at Austin Country Club.

“It's part of it. It should be fun,” Spieth said. “There should be some gamesmanship. That's the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That's why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don't think that would be unusual.”

It also helps heat things up if opponents have some history together. On Tuesday, Rory McIlroy was asked if he’s run across any gamesmanship at the Match Play. While the Northern Irishman didn’t think there would be much trash talking going on this week, he did add with a wry smile, “Patrick Reed isn’t in my bracket.”

McIlroy and Reed went head-to-head in an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the American won 1 up. The duo traded plenty of clutch shots during the match, with Reed wagging his finger at McIlroy following a particularly lengthy birdie putt and McIlroy spurring the crowd with roars of, “I can’t hear you.”

It was an example of how chippy things can get at the Match Play that when McIlroy was asked if he had any advice for Spieth, who drew Reed in his pod this week, his answer had a bit of a sharp edge.

“Don't ask for any drops,” laughed McIlroy, a not-so-subtle reference to Reed’s comment last week at Bay Hill after being denied free relief by a rules official, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said on Sunday.

Put another way, this is not your grandfather’s game. This is the Match Play where trash talking and gamesmanship are not only acceptable, but can also be extremely entertaining.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”