Needless to say, this has been the most bizarre of bizarre years. One that saw the golf world hit the pause button just as the biggest events were on deck. The Players Championship came to a screeching halt, and The Open was axed. We had a Masters in November, a U.S. Open in September, and the PGA Championship found itself in August again.
All the while, the golf fashion world was caught in a weird time warp. Scripts were flipped from vibrant spring looks to dark autumnal fits, and brands were left scratching their heads wondering when they should release those limited-edition drops. Nonetheless, we’ve made it through this long, strange trip called 2020.
To celebrate, we dish out 10 Threadies to the best-dressed players in the game who inspired us with bold and daring looks. Two players make their first appearance on the list, and in true 2020 fashion, there is a shake-up at the top. A mix of American, European, and Japanese apparel brands comprise the list, with Greyson and Ralph Lauren combining for half of the list. On the footwear side, FootJoy flexes its strength with six players on the list.
A big thank you to all the readers, followers, and brands who supported GolfThreads through these crazy times. Whether you are a longtime reader or just stumbled upon us as you discovered (or rediscovered) the game this year, connecting with you kept us going. It is difficult to believe this is our eighth year talking about golf fashion. We appreciate you being along for the ride on our little passion project.
Without further delay, here is our list of the 10 best-dressed players of 2020. Drop a comment below. Let us know what we got right, what we got wrong, and who would be on your best-dressed list.
See also: The Top 20 Fits of 2020
10. Abraham Ancer (Apparel: Black Quail; Shoes: FootJoy)
Abraham Ancer has been on our radar for a couple of years but made a break-through in 2020 thanks to an apparel switch to up-and-coming brand Black Quail. With Black Quail, Ancer found that perfect mix of classic and modern designs with his timeless FootJoy shoes. While Ancer’s best looks include vibrant splashes of color, he looked confident in everything he wore throughout the year.
9. Cameron Tringale (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
Cameron Tringale receives the honor as the highest-ranking newcomer on our best-dressed list. He grabs his first Threadie as a result of successfully straddling the line between classic and contemporary looks. His intricate microprints created a level of interest and intrigue that made us want to zoom in for closer looks. At the same time, his traditional stripes and contrast plackets proved that timeless looks never go out of style.
As we exit the extra-slim-fitting era of golf fashion, Tringale’s looks serve as an example of the new normal. His polos have more room in the shoulders while being tapered through the body. Rather than choking the upper arm, his sleeves are slim, but not tight, and hit just beyond the mid-bicep.
8. Ryo Ishikawa (Apparel: Callaway Golf & TravisMathew Japan; Shoes: Callaway Golf)
Don’t call it a comeback. Ryo has been on our best-dressed list for years. Well, he did take a two-year hiatus, but that had more to do with injuries and bad form than a whack wardrobe. Nonetheless, he made a strong return with a mix of fits from Callaway and TravisMathew.
Ryo has long been one of the most creative dressers in the game. He has effortlessly pulled off even the most outlandish outfits while breaking fashion rules along the way. This year, though, we saw a more subdued Ryo with classic chest stripes, simple color blocking, and microprints that channeled his ‘Bashful Prince’ nickname. He can still tread where others can’t, though. Case in point, the mockneck at the PGA Championship. Anyone who can make a mock look good deserves a Threadie.
7. Danny Willett (Apparel: Descente; Shoes: Nike)
While the rest of the golf world was flashing loud prints in 2020, Danny Willett took a different approach, and it paid dividends. He sported a mix of angled geometric patterns and color-blocked designs that brought us back to the rock ‘n roll era of golf fashion in the mid to late aughts. Along the way, he separated himself from the crowd with his fun and funky kits.
Willett has long been an example of how golf clothes should fit, and the Englishman once again looked like he stepped off Savile Row with pinpoint tailoring from head to toe.
6. Brian Gay (Apparel & Shoes: G/FORE)
Brian Gay has always been one of the more progressive dressers on Tour. Throughout his career, he has gravitated towards brands that share his affinity for trendy looks. In G/FORE, he has found a perfect apparel and footwear partner. The brand is not afraid of shaking up the golf fashion space with edgy camos, skulls, and crossbones.
Given Brian’s appreciation for style, it is fitting that he achieved a golf fashion first in November. Not only did he return to the winner’s circle for the first time in seven years at the Bermuda Championship, but he also became the first player to win on the PGA Tour while wearing joggers. That alone earns him a Threadie.
5. Justin Thomas (Apparel: Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
The only thing more consistent than Justin Thomas’ swing is his style game. When it comes to classic preppy looks, nobody does it better than JT. Even when he steps outside the box, he does it in a very timeless and sophisticated way. For example, the seersucker and windowpane trousers at the Northern Trust gave off some serious Great Gatsby vibes.
Thomas wasn’t a stranger to preppy critters and nautical themes, either. Throughout the fall, he sported Ralph Lauren’s iconic Polo Bear, a reboot from the ‘90s. In the spring, a pair of scorpion-patterned trousers were one of his favorites. At the U.S. Open, he set sail in a smart sailboat print.
Of course, classic preppy looks wouldn’t be complete without old-school saddles and wingtips. JT is known for syncing bespoke FootJoys with his Ralph Lauren threads, and we are curious to see how his shoe closet evolves in 2021. He recently made the switch to FJ’s new Premiere Series and has already started dabbling in custom colorways.
4. Sam Ryder (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
In a year when we were inspired by bold looks, Sam Ryder showed up and showed out day after day. From blue tiger stripes and purple camos to a variety of macro and microprints, Ryder sported many of the most-talked-about polos from Greyson in 2020.
This is the era of eye-catching prints, so there is no shortage of players dialing up daring looks. What separates Ryder from others is his ability to balance the bold with the simple. He also has the versatility to bounce between classic and modern kits from round to round. At a time when there is a predictability in Tour player looks, we love that Ryder keeps us guessing while never disappointing.
3. Matt Wallace (Apparel: J.Lindeberg; Shoes: FootJoy)
Over a few months, Matt Wallace gave us a glimpse at golf fashion’s past, present, and future with old-school ties, modern camo patterns, and fashion-forward track stripes.
His most memorable look of the year was also our favorite look of 2020. The tie and cardigan sweater vest combo was straight out of J.Lindeberg’s Archive Capsule Collection. The collection was a nod to Jesper Parnevik’s iconic looks that put JL on the map back in the day. And, I dare say that Wallace wears JL better than anyone since Jesper. Any other day, the golf world would have been buzzing about this throwback fit, but on this day, it was overshadowed by the looming COVID shutdown.
Wallace’s sartorial strength is his ability to sit at the forefront of golf’s biggest fashion trends while also taking a classic approach to his style. One day he can tee it up in a sporty color-blocked hybrid jacket and the next in a timeless ¼-zip Merino sweater.
For Wallace, this is his second consecutive Threadie and his highest ranking on our year-end list. With J.Lindeberg recently announcing that the Englishman inked an extension with the Swedish fashion house for another three years, we see at least a few more Threadies in his future.
2. Billy Horschel (Apparel: Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
Every year, I spend hours poring over thousands of images as we whittle down our list of Threadie winners. Every pic of Billy Horschel in 2020 shows a fit that is on point from head to toe.
The secret behind Horschel’s amazing consistency is his ability to wear outfits that are in total balance from top to bottom. Let’s face it; many guys can color coordinate a polo and a pair of pants. Few can dial in every aspect of a look quite like Billy does. This means choosing the right hat, belt, shoes, pullover, etc. day after day. He was also one of the few players to turn the neck gaiter into a fashion accessory. That’s so 2020 of you, Billy.
By now we know, Horschel can rock those Ralph Lauren jawns, but it was his hat and shoe games that impressed in 2020. When a mid-season equipment switch saw him without a hat sponsor, he took the opportunity to work vintage rope caps and retro Polo caps into his wardrobe.
Billy has never shied away from talking fashion on social media, which is why he is one of our favorite follows. One of his social media highlights this year was a preview of FootJoy’s Premiere Series shoes from the Winged Foot locker room that rivaled any unboxing video on YouTube. Having been a longtime supporter of FJ’s Icons, the Premiere Series gave him a new look in the second half of the year. We can’t wait to see the bespoke colorways he rolls out in 2021.
1. Erik van Rooyen (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: ECCO)
In 2016, Kid Cudi dropped the track Surfin’ with Pharrell. In the song, Cudi raps, “I ain’t ridin’ no waves; I’m making my own waves.” I can’t help but think about this line every time I see Erik van Rooyen’s latest fashion flex.
Since making the switch to Greyson’s threads in 2019, EVR has disrupted the traditional golf fashion rules, while still respecting the game. At a time when golf apparel has become predictable, EVR has made his own waves with bold prints, colorful patterns, and new-school joggers and hoodies. In the process, he created a signature style for himself that lands him on the top of our best-dressed list for 2020.
Don’t get me wrong. van Rooyen wasn’t the first player to slip on joggers and hoodies; he’s just worn them better than anyone else. As a result, he has changed golfers’ minds about more progressive approaches to golf fashion. Along the way, he has embraced Greyson’s juxtaposition of styles. By pairing streetwear-inspired joggers with luxurious cashmere sweaters, he brings a modern sophistication to the course.
EVR’s style superpower is his sartorial swagger, though. No matter what he wears, he does it with quiet confidence. A colorful peacock-feather print polo in Mexico? He rocked it. A dark camo in the San Francisco fog? He made it look effortless. A pack of wild wolves in Houston? Fantastic.
All this from a guy who once said, “If you’re going to wear it, you’ve got to own it. I feel like I’m owning it.” There’s no doubt, Erik van Rooyen owned golf fashion in 2020 and was the breath of fresh air we needed.
Feature image: Greyson Clothiers