This is the time of the year for everyone to break out their “Best of” lists, and I couldn’t resist doing my own. So, I present the Five Best Dressed Golfers of 2012.
Four Europeans and an Aussie make the list. This means zero Americans made it (it is about time for someone to step up). Two members of the list have their own labels and three are known for not always wearing hats on the course (maybe I’m just jealous that they have hair).
5. Robert Rock (J.Lindeberg and FootJoy)
In January in Abu Dhabi the Englishman proved he could take down Tiger Woods in the final round of a tournament, but he also proves that you don’t need to be a cut gym rat like Camilo Villegas to rock (pun intended) J.Lindeberg. In fact, Rock brings a totally different vibe to the J.Lindeberg brand than Villegas. His is a more classic style compared to Villegas’ more athletic look.
Also, at a time when professional golfers are continuously finding new places to stick corporate logos, Rock is best know best known for ditching one of the most prominent logo holders — the hat. This helps him stand out from the crowd without having to resort to flashy colors and designs. It also helps to put the focus on his clothes.
4. Graeme McDowell (G-Mac and Ecco)
Not only is this Irishman one of the best and most clutch players in the world, he also brought the cardigan sweater (jumper) back to the world of golf. McDowell, formerly with Q’aja and Louis Copeland, launched his own line of clothing this year called G-Mac with Irish sportswear brand Kartel.
McDowell’s style success is the result of several factors: his clothes are well tailored and fit his body type; he mixes bright solid color shirts with subtle plaid pants for an effortless look; and he incorporates unique elements such as button down collars and cardigan sweaters. And similar to Robert Rock, he is known to play without a hat at Ryder Cups.
3. Adam Scott (Aquascutum and FootJoy)
Adam Scott has always been recognized as one of the best dressed players in the world. His style is a blend of classic designs and cuts (solid polos and argyle sweaters) and simple colors (navy blue, red and white) combined with technical features (performance fabrics and FootJoy Sport shoes) and a subtle touch of uniqueness (Aquascutum’s signature club check). The result is a look that is as effortless as his swing. The Aussie has gravitated towards luxury brands throughout his career (J.Lindeberg, Burberry and now Aquascutum) which has given his style an air of sophistication.
2. Ian Poulter (IJP Design and Puma)
Is there a more polarizing figure when it comes to golf style than Ian Poulter? Well, maybe John Daly, but we won’t go down that road.
Several years ago the fiery Englishman couldn’t find an apparel company that made clothes he liked (he was so disenchanted that he actually wore an Arsenal soccer jersey during a tournament round), so he started his own brand, IJP Design, and the result was something the golf world hadn’t seen since Doug Sanders.
Unlike other players on this list, subtle doesn’t describe Poulter’s style or personality, but he possesses the ability to combine colors such as red, burgundy and fuchsia in tartan plaids and argyles and make it look good. Thankfully the golf world has Ian Poulter to keep things interesting.
1. Luke Donald (RLX and FootJoy)
Esquire magazine named Luke Donald one of the best dressed men of 2012, so naming him the best dressed golfer is hard to argue.
If ever a brand and a player were the perfect fit, it is RLX and Luke Donald. The RLX brand combines classic styles with modern performance and Donald and his game personify this. Nothing about Donald’s game is flashy, but he still made it to number one in the world rankings, and the same can be said about his style. Nothing flashy, but no one does it better.
His shirts are classic designs (solids and subtle stripes) and they fit. They are slim, but not tight. The shoulders and sleeves hit at the perfect spots. His trousers are well tailored and again, slim but not to the point of looking like the dreaded skinny jeans. He ties everything together with with custom FootJoy Icons (frequently the retro-classic wingtip style). Like McDowell, Donald is known to ditch the hat for Ryder Cups.