It is that time of the year again. We roll out the green carpet and honor the best-dressed golfers in the game. This also celebrates our sixth year of covering golf fashion. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all the readers, social media followers, and golf apparel and footwear brands who have supported us over the years. Reading your comments and engaging on social media motivate and inspire us on a daily basis. This is what keeps us going.
Now, on to our best-dressed list. This year, we dish out 10 Threadies. If there is a theme for this year’s list, it is ‘New Blood.’ Half of the players pick up their first Threadies. We also have our first player to three-peat in the top spot. From a brand standpoint, Ralph Lauren and Greyson lead the way as both place two players in the Top Five. FootJoy continues its dominance with five players on the list, including three who still kick an old-school style in the brand’s Icon models. Making inroads, though, is G/FORE with its modern takes on classic designs.
Without further ado, here is our list of the 10 best-dressed players of 2018. Drop a comment below. Let us know what we got right, what we got wrong, and who would be in your Top 10.
10. Cameron Smith (Apparel: Original Penguin; Shoes: FootJoy)
Original Penguin is one of the iconic golf apparel brands. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are just two of the legendary players to sport the Penguin logo back in the day. After taking a hiatus from the game, Original Penguin made a strong return to the fairways in 2018 and Cameron Smith was the perfect guy to represent the brand.
After making a mid-season switch to the brand, Smith embraced its whimsical prints, daring plaids, and fun-loving attitude. At a time when there is a lack of unique looks on Tour, Smith stood out in Original Penguin’s bold and youthful designs. He also gave us a lesson in fit with slim, well-tailored trousers and polos.
9. Yuta Ikeda
Prints are in and nobody is rockin’ them quite like Yuta Ikeda. His bold and beautiful fashion choices bring a tasteful level of flair to the course. In 2018, he gave us everything from flashy floral prints to intricate geometric patterns. The bigger the stage, the more Ikeda dialed up his kits. At the Masters, he opted for trousers that could have doubled as your grandmother’s living room curtains. Another day, it was a bold red belt that brought out the red pops in a micro-floral print. Not to mention, he has one of the sickest shoe closets in the game.
8. Danny Willett (Apparel: Descente; Shoes: FootJoy)
We’ve often talked about Willett’s style. The fact that he didn’t grab a Threadie prior to this year is probably a glaring oversight on our part. Forgive us, Danny!
Everything about Willett’s effortless looks align perfectly with our style preferences. First, the fit of his clothes is impeccable. The narrow sleeves hit mid-bicep and the trim trousers just kiss the tops of his shoes. His outfits are always well balanced, and he uses tonal belts to create smooth transitions from the top to the bottom. He has settled in nicely with Descente in his second year with the brand. The funky asymmetrical designs he wore in 2017 gave way to more mainstream looks. He used heathered prints to add texture, creative color-blocked patterns for a sporty vibe, and cool gradients to create dramatic effects.
7. Brian Gay (Apparel & Shoes: G/FORE)
Do the clothes make the man? Or, does the man make the clothes? That is the debate we’ve had about Brain Gay’s mid-season move to G/FORE. BG has been on the cusp of grabbing a Threadie several times. When he started wearing Mossimo Giannulli’s stylish SoCal label in July, there was a renewed energy to his looks. It is fascinating how you can take a 40-something journeyman golfer, pair him with one of the hottest golf apparel brands, and he vaults into our best-dressed list.
While there is no official word on Gay’s status with the brand, this is a partnership we hope to see again in 2019. It is a great player/brand fit. Player’s like Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, and Kelly Kraft are all lacing up G/FORE’s modern takes on classic kicks. Gay gives G/FORE something that it was missing—a guy with a strong sense of style to rock its fashion-forward threads.
6. Rickie Fowler (Apparel & Shoes: Puma)
Since arriving on Tour, there has been no shortage of opinions on Rickie Fowler’s fashion choices. No matter which side of the fence you sit, there is no denying the fact he has used bold and colorful looks to inspire a new generation of golfers.
Fowler continues to use his apparel and footwear to honor people and places, unlike any other player. In Hawaii, he strolled to the first tee in an untucked Aloha shirt with a Japanese-inspired design to honor his grandfather. At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he teamed up with Puma and Nomad Customs on bespoke hi-tops with Palmer’s iconic umbrella logo dancing about. He followed that up at the BMW Championship where he paid tribute to Jarrod Lyle with custom yellow and black kicks, once again created by Nomad Customs. Rickie is good for the game and good for golf fashion.
5. Luke Donald (Apparel: Greyson; Shoes: Jordan Brand)
Don’t call it a comeback. Luke Donald has been one of the best-dressed players in the game for years. He even topped our inaugural list back in 2012. After falling out of our Top 10 last year, he came roaring back in 2018 to find a Top 5 spot.
After spending most of his career in Ralph Lauren, his move to Greyson seemed to energize his wardrobe. Along the way, he worked in some fresher colors and modern prints. Every once in a while, even the best-dressed players need a style reboot. And, speaking of boots, Donald is the only player we’ve seen who has been able to pull off Jordan golf shoes. I was unsure about his switch from the classic FJs to the sporty Js, but he made them work nicely. In the process, he showed the versatility of Greyson’s threads.
4. Henrik Stenson (Apparel: Hugo Boss; Shoes: FootJoy)
Henrik Stenson once again finds himself in our top five. At this point, he is probably in line for some sort of GolfThreads lifetime achievement award. While Stenson didn’t have his usual success on the course in 2018, his style game certainly didn’t suffer. When it comes to the fit of golf clothes, Stenson is still the one to mimic. Narrow sleeves that hit mid-bicep. Tapered trousers that sweep the tops of the shoes.
Throughout the year, Henrik the Great infused his classic-looking threads with trendy geometric patterns, asymmetrical color-blocking, and splashes of vibrant hues to stand out from the crowd. He is best known for his monochromatic black looks, but his two-toned blue outfits were his best of the year.
3. Sam Ryder (Apparel: TrendyGolf/Greyson Clothiers)
Sam Ryder is our highest-ranking newcomer on the list. He is poised for a breakout year in 2019, both with his clubs and his style. Ryder had a unique apparel deal in 2018 as he signed on with our friends at TrendyGolf. This allowed him to wear a variety of brands stocked by the e-comm company. One day Greyson; the next day J.Lindeberg; and Original Penguin the following day. (Yes, we are supremely jealous of Sam’s wardrobe.) Like most of us amateurs, he mixed and matched brands in his outfits throughout the year, only he did a much better job of it than the guys at your club.
We also like players who create a fashion stir for the right reasons and Ryder did just that during the final round in Vegas. Sure, dropping a tidy little 62 on the field to vault into third place gave him visibility, but it was the all-black kit with cropped joggers from Greyson, wingtip shoes from G/FORE, and no-show socks that had us buzzing. For Greg’s PGA Tour Style Insider article, Ryder said, “Whether you are a fan of what I wore on Sunday or not, at least it creates some more buzz and it gets some more eyes on golf. I don’t think it took away from Bryson winning the golf tournament, Patrick finishing second, or my really good round of golf. I think guys should have a little leeway as long as you are doing it tastefully.” Amen, brother.
While Ryder got the most press with his Vegas look, it was his consistently fashionable threads throughout the year that earned him the number three spot on our list. He didn’t shy away from making a statement with bold camos, on-trend micro prints, and sporty color-blocked designs. His best looks came while wearing Greyson and he recently signed with the brand for 2019, a deal we wholeheartedly applaud.
2. Justin Thomas (Apparel: Polo Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
While repeating his results on the course from 2017 was always going to be a challenge for Thomas in 2018, there was little doubt his fashion game would live up to expectations. JT brought it again this year. His classic preppy looks could find a home in any era. While many of the 20-somethings on Tour are gearing up with super sporty fits, Thomas stands out from the crowd in traditional country clubs kits with cotton blend polos and Merino sweaters.
Typically, JT is at his sartorial best when playing dusty pastels off neutrals, but we argue his best looks of the year came at the Open Championship when he sported dark autumn hues and technical corduroy trousers at Carnoustie. Of course, he also excels at nailing the details and completing his looks in style. The old-school saddle shoes and brogues work perfectly with his classic threads. Whether he is wearing luxurious exotic skins or preppy canvas straps, his belts always complement his outfits.
1. Billy Horschel (Apparel: RLX Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
Jordan’s Bulls. Shaq’s and Kobe’s Lakers. Jeter’s Yankees. What do they all have in common? Three-peats! What do they have to do with Billy Horschel? Well, BillyHo just pulled off the rare golf fashion achievement of picking up his fifth Threadie while topping our best-dressed list for the third straight year.
The next time Horschel strolls to the first tee in some whacked out garms, it will be the first time. This guy never has an off day in the sartorial department. His style game is dialed in for every round. The dude even gave us a selfie Instagram video back in March on the hazards of white belts. “You can ruin a great outfit with a white belt.” He followed that up with a serious style lesson on belts by using his planned outfits for the Valspar Championship…while in his walk-in closet!
In addition to his strong fashion sense and keen attention to detail, Horschel teamed up with Ralph Lauren on his own capsule collection, which he wore at the PGA Championship. The collection captured Horschel’s quintessential style in five unique outfits. It featured engineered stripes, bold rugby stripes, urban camos, and he even brought back the famous octopus print bottoms. Sure, there was some debate at GolfThreads Headquarters as to whether Billy would hold on to the top spot again this year, but his passion for fairway fashion put him over the top.