The European Tour announced a new policy at this week’s Abu Dhabi Championship: Players are now permitted to wear shorts during practice and pro-ams, as Chief Executive Keith Pelley believes the initiative will help “modernize the game.”
Among the players making the most out of the new rule were Ian Poulter, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke. Two headliners of the week world nos. 1 and 3, respectively, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy both voiced their support for pros sporting knee lengths.
“I like it. I think it’s a good idea to let guys wear shorts in practice rounds,” said McIlroy. “I probably just need a couple more weeks in the sun to get my legs out in public!
“I think all the guys enjoy wearing shorts, especially in practice, and especially if it gets hot, I think it’s a good idea.”
Good point — we don’t want to be blinded!
McIlroy even took it a step further and wouldn’t mind if the rule applied to tournament play, as well.
“Maybe. Why not?” said McIlroy. “It really depends if guys are comfortable or not. I don’t think it takes anything away from the tradition of the game or etiquette or how guys look on the course.
“We’re not going to go out in shorts at the British Open if it’s 10 degrees (50 degrees F) and raining. But at the same time, if we’re playing in a hot country and it’s more comfortable for guys to wear shorts, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to.”
Spieth wouldn’t mind if the PGA Tour adopted the new dress code, too.
“It’s awesome. It will be something that I would love to see on the PGA Tour, as well,” said Spieth. “Guys seem to all love it over here. I’ve not heard one person, one tour player complain about it.”
He was just disappointed he didn’t hear about it until he arrived to the course on Wednesday.
“I just wish that my hotel was closer,” said Spieth, who was wearing long pants. “I would have gone back.”
Several players voiced their endorsement for shorts via Twitter, including Poulter.
I hope so.. It’s 2016 not 1990. Get rid of the stuffy old rules that hold golf back. Make it more fun everyone. https://t.co/ekMFQJQwkD
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) January 20, 2016
Pelley celebrated the new initiative as a step forward in modernizing the game and bringing a “youthful, fun” element to tournaments.
“The players have embraced it,” he said. “Shorts are a natural evolution to help modernise the game. It puts our players first and our fans first as well. The fashion of golf is something that the youth adopt. We will have strong rules, but there will be some fashion statements, and it’s a great start.”
Caddies, of course, are allowed to wear shorts on both the European Tour and PGA Tour.
We’ll see if the powers-that-be in Ponte Vedra follow suit and add an item to the agenda for their next policy meeting.