Charl Schwartzel has unintentionally made a fashion statement on the PGA Tour this year when he’s donned the logo'd straw hat.
So much so that a reporter asked him where it was Thursday following his opening-round 70 at the Wyndham Championship.
Schwartzel said he’s been wearing the hat for years while practicing, and that he was “sick and tired of the sun burning my neck and my ears.” The only reason he wasn’t wearing it in the first round? It was too early; he teed off at 7:20 a.m. local time. “Too dark to wear it,” he said.
It’s a stark departure from the traditional sponsored ball caps that nearly everyone on the Tour uses, and it harkens back to the days when Greg Norman famously wore the straw hat.
Schwartzel said his peers have taken notice of his new look.
“It actually seems like it’s becoming quite a thing,” he said. “All the guys that walk past me ask where’s the hat. I think I’ve caused something for myself. I’ll have to start playing with [it on] permanently.”
Few would have noticed if not for Schwartzel’s recent stretch of play, which included a tie for third at the 3M Open. Needing to make the cut at the PGA Championship to satisfy the requirements of his major medical extension, he tied for 58th last week at TPC Harding Park.
Now, Schwartzel can set his sights on qualifying for the FedExCup Playoffs. At No. 125, he’s squarely on the bubble for the postseason, but even the South African admitted there isn’t nearly as much pressure as usual at the Wyndham after the Tour announced no one will lose their playing privileges for next season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Irrelevant of what happens this week for me, I’ve got a full schedule next year,” he said. “Saying that, I really want to get through and keep playing. I think that eases the pressure, but maybe that’s why I haven’t thought about it too much.”