Another Ryder Cup has come and gone. The U.S. Team once again leaves European soil with plenty of drama, but no trophy. All was not lost, though. The Americans did win something and that was the style showdown in the fashion capital of the world.
Remember the days when the Europeans dominated the U.S. on the course and in the fashion department? Well, the Americans have flipped the script on the Europeans when it comes to the latter.
One of the best things the PGA of America did was tap Ralph Lauren to design the U.S. Ryder Cup uniforms. Forget about those lavender cardigans, boring polos, and leaky rain suits of the past. The American fashion house has brought back a sense of style and national pride through modern looks and a red, white, and blue color palette. Designing national team uniforms is no easy feat. Patriotic symbols can often come off as cliché, but Ralph Lauren used subtle details to create a tasteful level of national spirit. The series of kits produced a cohesive story for the Americans from the first practice round to the singles matches.
See Also: U.S. Ryder Cup Uniforms: United We Stand
On the other hand, the Europeans’ outfits throughout the week lacked cohesion and identity (with the exception of Sunday). They seemed caught between paying homage to the host nation of France, pulling inspiration from the European flag, and going off in another direction altogether.
Things started to go sideways with the banana yellow tops and greyish-khaki pants for Thursday’s practice round. Yikes! That’s a tough combo for even the most stylish lads to pull off. Friday’s kit was a head-scratcher. Knowing the U.S. would wear red, white, and blue, the European’s decided to wear…red, white, and blue. Clearly, this was in honor of the host country, but it felt like we were watching the JV squad play the Varsity. Sure, the French Blue was a nice touch, but the red belts felt like they were trying too hard. Maybe they were just trolling the U.S. (Btw, the U.S. sure looked like the JV squad.)
As strange as Friday’s choice was, we could at least see the thought process. Saturday brought us in a totally different direction with a rusty burnt orange top paired with those greyish-khaki trousers again. Where did this color come from? I haven’t seen it since 1982 on a shag carpet in my parent’s family room! If they were trolling the U.S. on Friday, maybe they were trolling Jordan Spieth with the Longhorn Orange on Saturday.
Sunday’s singles matches brought yet another look, which was inspired by the European flag. This was arguably their best outfit of the week as it tied back to team colors and gave them some sort of an identity. Then again, the monochromatic medium blue had visions of golfing Smurfs dancing in my head.
Go for the (Galvin) Green
One of the positives for the European Team was the range of layering pieces provided by Galvin Green. The color-blocked designs and dual-tone blue jackets were sporty and stylish. The only problem was we didn’t see the players wearing them enough. Maybe Galvin Green should design the uniforms for 2020.
One of the great parts of the Ryder Cup is seeing players like Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy without the standard issue hats and visors. It brings us back to simpler times when Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus strolled the fairways sans chapeau. These days, headwear is just another place to slap a billboard-sized logo in exchange for some sponsorship dollars. But, hey; this is the Ryder Cup. No cash, no hat.
Not wearing a hat is a decidedly European approach, which got me thinking. Who on the U.S. Team should ditch the lid? Well, definitely not Tiger. Spieth and JT are dealing with some sparse fairways if you know what I mean. Phil is making an unsuccessful middle-aged attempt at Tommy Fleetwood’s flow. After working through the entire team, I’m left with Rickie as the best candidate. He’s had some sweet ‘dos over the years. Let’s pull for Ollie Schniederjans to make the team in 2020. I’m starting the campaign now.
Spieth Rocks Ralph
I’m not here to start any trouble (the U.S. Team seems perfectly capable of handling that themselves), but Jordan Spieth looked sharp in the Ralph Lauren threads. Before turning pro, he sported a fair share of Polo gear and it is still a natural fit for him. Granted, he has a long-term deal with Under Armour, but I’m just saying…
Eyes of the Tiger
Is someone at Team Tiger reading GolfThreads? Two years ago I threw shade on Tiger’s white wraparound shades during the opening ceremony at Hazeltine. They lacked style and sophistication for a formal event. They also made Tiger look like a middle-aged dude driving a convertible Sebring with the top down. This year, he upped his eyewear game from the plane to the opening ceremony with aviator-style sunglasses. A much better look with a jacket and tie. Ever the company man, we believe Woods’ choice in sunglasses was Nike’s Outrider shades.
Suited and Booted
Speaking of the opening ceremony, it was the one place where the Europeans outclassed the Americans. The well-tailored navy suits and white spread collar shirts looked straight out of James Bond’s wardrobe. On the other hand, the U.S. Team’s preppy navy jackets with gold buttons and bone trousers felt more appropriate for the Walker Cup Team.
With players wearing team-issued apparel, shoes were one of the only areas left for self-expression. Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau teamed up with Puma and Nomad Customs for some one-of-a-kind kicks.
See Also: Ryder Cup Footwear Fever
Nomad Customs also created Bubba’s rebellious G/FORE Disruptor High-Tops. The combination of the shoes and the fit of the pants seemed to give Bubba fits throughout the week.
Nike hooked up its athletes with personal editions of their favorite styles with translucent two-tone outsoles. Nike’s best effort, though, was a bespoke Air Max 90 sneaker, sported by European players during the celebration.
Adidas created a special edition of its TOUR360 EQT BOA shoe for Jon Rahm. The colorway was inspired by the Ryder Cup trophy with gold accents and an outsole with a wood grain look.
FootJoy took a patriotic approach by supplying players on both sides with colorful Pro/SL and Icon models that featured flag motifs.