The 11 Best Dressed Golfers of 2017
2017, on many levels, will not go down as the best year in history. Even the world of golf fashion seemed a bit subdued this year, especially after all the controversy surrounding high-tops, joggers, and blade collars in 2016. Many of the progressive designs that dominated the fairways in previous years gave way to cleaner looks and subtle details. As a result, those players who took risks and sported the best fits rose to the top.
Nonetheless, this is the time of the year to reflect and celebrate. Here at GolfThreads, that means dishing out Threadies to the 11 best-dressed players in the game. This year we welcome six newcomers, including two first-timers in the top five. We also say goodbye to the likes of Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, and Graeme McDowell—all who have won multiple Threadies over the years. There’s always next year, guys.
See Also: The Threadies: The 10 Best Dressed Golfers of 2016
From a brand standpoint, an unprecedented 10 apparel brands were represented in our top 11, with Ralph Lauren outfitting two of the top five. FootJoy flexed its muscles in the footwear area (again) with seven players on the list, including four in the top five.
What do you think about GolfThreads’ selections? Who do you have in your top 11? Contribute your own list in the comments area below, or hit us up on social media.
Now, will the following players please step forward to receive your Threadies!
11. Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Apparel: Oakley; Shoes: FootJoy)
How should your golf polo fit? It should be trim through the body and the sleeves should hug your arms before stopping at the middle of your biceps. In other words, just take a look at these pics of Rafa Cabrera-Bello. Nobody in the game of golf rocks a polo (or a sweater) quite like RCB. Heck, he even makes us forget about that huge Oakley logo.
Throughout 2017, Rafa gave us a bit of everything on the fashion front. Besides his razor-sharp fits, he dialed up eye-catching looks with vibrant colors, executed the tricky ‘polo-over-a-base layer’ move to perfection (more than once), and created depth with tonal patterns. He gets extra points for subtly matching his sunglass lenses and temples to other pieces in his kits, too.
10. Yuta Ikeda
Yuta Ikeda is the latest in the long list of Japanese players bringing a high level of flair to the course. He has the ability to stand out while still respecting the heritage of the game. He basically had a spot on this list locked up by the time he left Erin Hills. Picking up the Ian Woosnam Collection from 1991 would have been the only way for him to tumble out of the top 11 during the second half of the year. Thankfully, he continued to show serious sartorial range by busting out everything from full-zip cardigans and plaid trousers to intriguing micro prints and bright colors. Not to mention, he has one of the sickest shoe closets in the game.
9. Dustin Johnson (Apparel & Shoes: Adidas Golf)
DJ has been the king of monochromatic looks on Tour for a few years, but prior to this year, the tailoring of his pants was always a bit whack. Thanks to a few nips and tucks, DJ hit the fairways in 2017 with a slight taper and a sharp hem that just kissed the top of this shoe. Yes, one small detail can take your style from ordinary to extraordinary. In this case, the cleaner fit made Dustin look even taller and more athletic (like he really needed it).
Not to be overlooked is the tonal-striped shirt that DJ turned to time and time again. The danger with monochromatic looks is that they often come off looking flat and boring. Johnson has been guilty of this in the past, but the design of this polo, coupled with the rich texture of his exotic skin belts, added depth and helped to elevate the look of his monotone kits.
8. Danny Lee (Apparel: Devereux; Shoes: FootJoy)
Every time we looked up in 2017 Danny Lee was quietly doing stylish things. He is one of those players who successfully straddles the line between classic and contemporary looks. His blend of muted hues, tone-on-tone patterns, and trim fits are distinctly modern, while his bespoke wingtips are fashionable throwbacks.
Some of Lee’s best looks of the year included a blue camo sweater with a textured hybrid pant at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tropical Birds of Paradise print polo at the Northern Trust, and a mix of sophisticated greys at the CJ Cup.
7. Rickie Fowler (Apparel & Shoes: Puma Golf)
Nobody moves the golf fashion needle quite like Rickie Fowler. If Rickie is wearing it, people are talking about it. At a time when ‘growing the game’ is priority number one, Fowler continues to use his progressive style to make golf cool to a younger generation. After all the controversy over his joggers and high-tops in 2016, the game didn’t die. In fact, by all accounts, golf experienced a revival of sorts, and we have to think dynamic young stars, like Rickie, had something to do with that.
The most interesting aspect of Fowler’s style is the fact that he possesses the creativity to go outside the box, while also having the thoughtfulness to respect the history of the game and the significance of events. Take those Arnold Palmer tribute shoes he sported at Bay Hill. He called on renowned sneaker designer Dominic Chambrone, a.k.a. The Shoe Surgeon, to create a custom high-top with images of Arnie on the uppers and Palmer’s signature and umbrella logo on the Velcro straps. Then, at the Quicken Loans, just outside the nation’s capital, he paid tribute to the military with a camo polo and high-tops adorned with a shark teeth pattern, similar to the paint job on World War II fighter planes. Well played, Rickie. Well played.
6. Morgan Hoffmann (Apparel: Greyson; Shoes: FootJoy)
Classic, trendy, sporty, modern, daring, and preppy. You can fit most players into one, maybe two, of these style categories. Morgan Hoffmann, on the other hand, has the unique ability to blend all of these styles together to create a sophisticated and elegant look. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to complete every outfit with a pair of cool spectator shoes, either.
While Hoffmann’s modern takes on classic kits can find a home in any decade, the way he wears bold camos, intricate micro prints, and fair isle patterned hoodies are the reasons he’s earned a spot on our list for the third time.
See Also: Leader of the Pack: Q&A with Greyson Clothiers’ Charlie Schaefer
5. Henrik Stenson (Apparel: Hugo Boss; Shoes: FootJoy)
From head to toe, Henrik Stenson is still the best example of how golf apparel should be tailored in 2017. Throughout the year, the big Swede infused his classic-looking threads with trendy geometric patterns, asymmetrical color-blocking, and splashes of vibrant hues to stand out from the crowd.
In his free time, Stenson even found time to start his own eyewear brand. Respect, Henrik. We’re always impressed when a major champ decides to throw himself into this crazy world of golf fashion. Now sit down, put on your seatbelt, and prepare for a wild ride of manufacturing nightmares and distribution disappointments.
4. Ollie Schniederjans (Apparel: Matte Grey; Shoes: FootJoy)
There are many good reasons why you should wear a hat on the course. That being said, if you have the head of lettuce that Ollie Schniederjans has, why cover your flow with a lid? At a time when sponsor dollars usually ruin fashion vibes, it is refreshing to see a professional golfer forgo a sack of cash in the name of style.
Ollie’s hatless look is certainly a throwback to simpler times when guys like Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Hal Sutton, and others strolled the fairways sans caps. Granted, they probably spend more time with their dermatologists these days than on the course, but we trust that Schniederjans is lathering up with some SPF 50 before hitting the links.
Keep in mind, Ollie didn’t win his first Threadie based on his hair alone. His no-fuss looks are super clean and prove that good tailoring stands out more than flashy patterns and highlighter hues. We’re guessing this is the first of many appearances on this list for the young Schniederjans.
3. Justin Thomas (Apparel: Polo Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
Damn, what a year for Justin Thomas. He kicked off 2017 with back-to-back wins in Hawaii while dropping a tidy 59. He had Johnny Miller shaking in his FootJoys as he posted a 63 at the U.S. Open while wearing cotton candy pink trousers. He captured the PGA Championship for his first major victory. Then, he won the FedEx Cup and a cool $10 million. And, best of all, he now adds his first Threadie to his mantle. Go on with your bad self, Justin.
While accomplishing all of the above, JT also gave us many of our favorite looks of the year. His tie and cardigan combo during the first round of the Open Championship was simply unmatched by any player this year. While everyone was still talking about this timeless kit, he made a complete 180 the following day with an edgy camo print trouser that matched the grey English skies.
Let’s also not forget those aforementioned pink pants, the foulard patterned polo, the red, white, and blue brogues at the Presidents Cup, the House of Fleming belts, the madras shorts during a practice round at the PGA Championship—the list goes on and on.
At this point, we’re guessing Thomas is the only one who doesn’t want this year to end.
2. Ryo Ishikawa (Apparel & Shoes: Callaway Golf)
Ryo remains the most creative dresser in the game of golf. He is the equivalent of must-see TV in the golf fashion world. With every round he seems to live on the sartorial edge by pairing a pattern with a pattern, or stripes with more stripes, and somehow pulling it off with ease.
Here at GolfThreads, we try to give you tips on emulating the best-dressed players, but Ryo comes with a ‘Don’t Try This at Home’ warning tag. Copying his style requires a high level of attention to detail, an acute understanding of fashion nuances, and a whole lot of swagger. For example, take a look at the image above. He pairs a patterned shirt with a patterned pair of trousers, which is typically a fashion faux pas. He makes it work because the jacquard pattern on the polo actually wears like a solid from a distance. We dare you to go for it!
1. Billy Horschel (Apparel: RLX Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Billy Horschel holds down the top spot in our best-dressed list for the second year in a row.
In looking back at Horschel’s fashion archive for 2017, it is clear the theme for the year was, ‘Killing It With Consistency.’ We couldn’t find one kit that left us scratching our heads. This is a remarkable feat considering the number of competitive and practice rounds these guys play during the year. In fact, we want every polo, trouser, pullover, sweater, belt, and custom pair of FootJoys in our wardrobes. We’re happy to be the thrift store for your hand-me-downs, Billy.
Given this level of consistency, it is difficult to pare down Horschel’s best looks of the year. Particularly memorable, though, were the foulard trousers at The Northern Trust, the winning black-shirt-coral-pants combo at the Byron Nelson, the street-savvy hoodie at the Open Championship, the mint trousers on the Florida Swing, and the grey camo pants at the Quicken Loans.
While BillyHo has always balanced colors and patterns exceptionally well, his ability to accessorize his kits is an underrated secret to his success. He always makes the correct choice in belts by matching the strap to his pants or using it as an extension of his shirt.
Great list, Greg. I would have substituted Robert Rock for Ollie and Brooks Koepka for Rafa. I also think that Henrik Stenson and Hugo Boss are such an awesome pairing that they deserve consideration for top three!
Greg, your list is spectacular and I couldn’t agree more with BillyHo as #1. I do like Spieth/Gary Woodland in UA because it is so clean, Daniel Berger’s approach to apparel from Callaway plus Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott solely because they are different. Brooks and Rory sport some clean sharp looks from Nike too but then the whole list is 20+ people long. Rickie is my favorite but he needs to learn to get away from the white belt. It seems sometimes he just grabs a white one when he forgets to blend it with his pants or shirt. On another note, your style comments on pgatour.com for the top 30 players to watch was an awesome surprise at the bottom. It was so enjoyable to read and highly contributed to overall flow/tone of each player. That took some time to compile and was well worth the effort. Well done.
Greg- I always thoroughly enjoy your write ups but I take a small degree of exception to this list. The reason being is because much like women’s runway couture fashion…it doesn’t truly exist in the wild (I hope not anyway)No one on in the world of amateur Golf dresses like Yuta or Ryo because no one would. I appreciate their bravado in doing their deal though. I’d have appreciated seeing Rory or Brooks on this list because In my worthless opinion, that is a more realistic vision of what we’d see, and purchase as consumers for that matter. All the above being said, I always appreciate the subjective nature of fashion and your opinions as they definitely carry much more weight than my 2 cents. Keep up the great work and show the swoosh some love occasionally why don’t you?!?
Andy, Thanks for reading and for dropping a comment. It is always great to hear opinions from readers. (And, your opinion is not worthless to us!) As you said, what makes fashion fun is that it is very subjective.
We have certainly showed some love to the Nike guys in our Dimes & Crimes posts, especially over the past couple of years. Brooks was in the Dimes section all four days of the U.S. Open. Also, we started with a list of about 25-30 finalists for the Best Dressed of 2017. Brooks was on the list, but didn’t make the final cut. There was a lot of splitting hairs to get to the Top 11. I just felt that guys like Yuta and Ryo brought a bit more flair to the course on a regular basis. They took more risks and pulled off some tricky looks (most of the time). Yes, their looks were creative and outside the box, but I don’t think they fit into the avant garde category, either.
Nike has some good looking pieces and some cool colors in its collection for this Spring, so I’m sure we’ll see some of the guys in our tournament recaps in the coming weeks.
Awesome list. Difficult not to rock an outfit from Greyson Clothierst.. I would make them number 1. Also difficult not to rock RLX and Matte Greay. Thanks for the list, Greg!