By T.J. Auclair
Golfers: start working on those leg tans.
PGA President Paul Levy announced on Tuesday that shorts would be permitted for practice rounds in all PGA of America events going forward, most notably the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, PGA Professional Championship and PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship will be the first of the four major championships to allow contestants to wear shorts during practice rounds.
The European Tour was at the forefront of this trend when it announced in January 2016 that it would permit shorts for practice rounds.
“Maybe. Why not?” Rory McIlroy said last year after the European Tour adopted the rule, when asked if shorts should also be allowed in competition. “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.”
When you consider the traditional August date for the PGA Championship — right in the dead of summer — this is a rational decision. Temperatures routinely flirt with the triple digits at any given PGA Championship venue.
It took years before caddies were allowed to wear shorts on the PGA Tour, which always seemed silly.
In a profession that chases the sun, really, what’s the harm in a pair of tasteful shorts?
Once considered buttoned up and stuffy, golf has hit the mainstream in recent years and fashion is something that isn’t taken lightly — just ask players like Rickie Fowler, Darren Clarke, Jesper Parnevik and Bryson DeChambeau.
Here in 2017, would the majority of folks be offended by professionals wearing shorts in competition?
I don’t think so.
Wearing shorts in competition isn’t being considered at this point in time, but perhaps this decision by the PGA of America paves the way for that discussion down the road.
T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.