You don’t necessarily need to be intellectually smart to play good golf, which is true of most sports. You just need to get the fundamentals of the swing down, learn how to chip and pitch, and figure out how to read and execute putts. Any moron can do that. You don’t need a college degree or even a high school diploma or even an eighth grade education. You’ve got a small, very hard ball and clubs designed to do different things to that ball depending on the lie you find yourself in and the atmospheric conditions happening on that particular day.
Now your success or failure may also depend on the mental and physical condition you’re in that particular day, but that has nothing to do with IQ. Absolutely nothing.
So why are professional male touring pros required to wear long pants at all times when playing in tournaments? After all, when golf started some 600 years ago, the required attire was much more restrictive. But as the years progressed, layers started to peel off and change. First it was ties and jackets and long pants or knickers or pantaloons or dresses for women. Then it was ties and sweaters or long sleeve shirts and knickers. Then the ties were ditched leading to puffy long sleeve shirts open at the neck and the knickers were ditched, until present times with our casual short sleeve shirts, plastered with sponsor advertisements (which first appeared in the early 60s I think) and long pants varying from Dockers to John Daly-ish designs. Shoes have stayed fairly constant throughout with increasing comfort and fewer metal spikes. Hats too have stayed pretty conventional and comfortable, mainly to keep the sun off with the addition of the obligatory advertising logos.
So why have long pants survived? I think it may have something to do with increasing the status of pro golfers, i.e. make them look like high IQ white collar professional workers who also have to slave in long pants during hot summer days at poorly air conditioned offices. And looking more like white collar workers creates the impression that pro golfers have and need the higher IQs of those mostly professional office workers.
Now my suggestion is let’s drop the illusion and allow pro touring pros the option to wear short pants, sparing them the discomfort and embarrassment of hot, humid, sweaty days (and underarms!) during the long summer months, often in the hottest, steamiest parts of the country. I know that would appear to put them in the same social strata as their quite comfortable short pants-clad caddies, who also needn’t be all that smart to do what they do (no offense, y’all), but isn’t that a more humane approach to the game. After all, all we really want to do is determine who plays the best golf, not who is the best hot weather survivalist.
Consider this an official request for a rules change, USGA/R&A.
All I can say about the Charles Schwab Challenge this past weekend is what a game we play! Sam Burns beats his best friend and World Number One Scottie Scheffler in a playoff with a a 38 foot putt from just the green. Congrats to Sam, his third win of the year, coming from seven shots behind with a final round 65 in extremely windy conditions in Texas.
Remembering fallen soldiers in war and fallen schoolchildren to gun violence on this Memorial Day.🙏
T Cragus says
Every sport has It’s “uniform” …. so let’s stay with long pants …. the last thing I need is seeing a pro golfer in their speedos (and sticking with the Michael Phelps analogy, perhaps shirtless too …. Harry Higgs did give us a brief introduction of what that might look like ).
Stephen Altschuler says
Well, sure, but uniforms usually don’t apply to independent contractors. And I’m just talking about giving them an option in hot, humid weather. Could even be a local rule that could apply to specific tournaments, like they do for bunkers, waste areas, and clean, lift and place (none of which applied in the old days of the game). Then again maybe Daly’s Loudmouth pants should be banned along with going shirtless ala Higgs, which is banned even by my muni.
Anyway, thanks for commenting. Your point is well taken, and long pants are probably here to stay for a long time.