ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The European Tour approved a new regulation allowing players to wear shorts during practice rounds at their events on Tuesday.
Although support of the change seemed to be split among players and some traditionalists, the concept, in practice, checked all the right boxes and should start a similar conversation on the PGA Tour.
For debating purposes, here are five reasons why the European Tour’s decision to break tradition is a good idea.
It’s hot. Ask any professional who has teed off in Memphis in June at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and they will tell you comfort should take precedent over any perceived notion of professionalism when the temperature and humidity inch past 90 degrees.
Happy pros, happy pro-am. There was a noticeable spring in players’ steps this week as the few who took advantage of the new policy set out to prepare for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and that translated into happier, more accommodating pros during Wednesday’s pro-am.
“Isn’t this great,” beamed Ernie Els, who showed up for a practice round on Tuesday wearing blue shorts.
Image counts. The PGA Tour has made courting millennials a key component of their marketing strategy and, as hard as this may be to believe, the image of a perfectly appointed professional isn’t exactly a way to do that (see Fowler, Rickie).
It’s time. While the PGA Tour was late to the table on this front – the circuit didn’t allow caddies to wear shorts until 1999 – it’s time to acknowledge the changing narrative.
As Ian Poulter explained in a tweet on Wednesday, “It’s 2016 not 1990. Get rid of the stuffy old rules that hold golf back. Make it more fun everyone.”
When Jordan speaks ... And perhaps the most persuasive argument came via world No. 1 Jordan Spieth on Wednesday when he was asked about the rule change.
“I think it's awesome ... It will be something that I would love to see on the PGA Tour, as well,” Spieth said. “It's a great move. I just wish that my hotel was closer. I would have gone back.”