The Threadies are back! GolfThreads’ annual fashion awards return with a fresh list of the 10 best-dressed players in the game. Consider this year a major shake-up as half of the list has turned over and Threadies are being awarded to five first-timers.
American golf apparel brands continue to dominate the list as eight of this year’s Threadie winners sported American apparel labels and nine laced up American shoe brands. Not surprisingly, FootJoy, and its new Premiere Series shoes, has six players on the list, while three other Threadie winners wear G/FORE kicks. On the apparel side, Greyson Clothiers placed three players in the top six while Hugo Boss and G/FORE added two each.
Before we dig into the list, we want to say thank you to all the readers, social media followers, and golf apparel and footwear brands who continue to support our little passion project. This marks our ninth complete year of talking about golf fashion, and we once again set a record for visits and pageviews on the site. We also surpassed 30,000 Instagram followers. Reading your comments and engaging on social media motivate and inspire us on a daily basis. Thank you!
Without further delay, here is our list of the 10 best-dressed players of 2021. Drop a comment below. Let us know what we got right, what we got wrong, and who would be on your best-dressed list.
10. Patrick Cantlay (Apparel: Hugo Boss; Shoes: FootJoy)
2021 was a breakout year for Patrick Cantlay in more ways than one. In addition to rolling his way through the playoffs en route to capturing his first FedEx Cup, he took his style to new heights thanks to sharper tailoring and an injection of new colors into his wardrobe.
I’ve always believed that Cantlay had the ability to be one of the best-dressed guys on Tour, but his simple and sophisticated looks were often too simple. He rarely strayed from a palette of navy, blue, and black. However, this year, we saw Cantlay weave in some brighter hues. His best fit of the year included those cool blue pants during the final round of the BMW Championship. Sure, his stone-cold mentality earned him the nickname ‘Patty Ice,’ but I’d like to think those icy blue pants had something to do with it, too.
In addition to his more lively color palette, Cantlay’s tailoring was more on-point. Rather than bunching around his ankles like in previous years, his pant legs were cut to hit the tops of his shoes.
At the Ryder Cup, Cantlay was the best-dressed on either team. Whether the day’s uniform called for a classic, modern, or sporty look, Cantlay rocked every kit. He looked like he was born to wear red, white, and blue. He also beat the Europeans at their own game by going sans lid for an extra clean look.
Can we give Patrick Cantlay the nickname ‘Captain America’ rather than Patrick Reed?
9. Abraham Ancer (Apparel: Black Quail; Shoes: FootJoy)
Abraham Ancer and Black Quail continue to be a match made in golf fashion heaven. A WGC victory and a late-season run in the playoffs landed Ancer in the ninth position in the FedEx Cup standings, but it is his effortless style that earned the same spot on our best-dressed list.
While Ancer looked confident in everything he wore throughout the year, his best looks popped with vibrant splashes of color. Props to Ancer and Black Quail for having some of the most stylish Olympic uniforms in Tokyo, too.
8. Brian Gay (Apparel & Shoes: G/FORE)
As the elder statesman of our best-dressed list, the 50-year-old Brian Gay once again proved that he has the game and the style to compete with the kids. Whether it was Sligo’s colorful and progressive designs a decade ago or G/FORE’s modern and sophisticated prints, Gay has never shied away from making bold fashion statements throughout his career.
In 2021, Gay turned to a mix of intricate florals, edgy camos, and preppy stripes to earn his fourth consecutive Threadie. His fashion highlight of the year was a pair of Aloha Friday floral print pants at Kapalua. He also shared a humorous behind-the-scenes story about why he opted for an untucked polo with those trousers and it had nothing to do with creating a casual island attitude.
7. Thomas Detry (Apparel: Hugo Boss; Shoes: G/FORE)
Long-time Hugo Boss ambassador Henrik Stenson has been a mainstay in our annual best-dressed list, but dare I say there are a couple of new bosses in town as Thomas Detry and Patrick Cantlay have moved into the Top 10.
While Cantlay favors a classic approach with his Hugo Boss threads, Detry takes a more modern and sporty approach. His looks aren’t flashy, but he uses subtle pops of color through his G/FORE gloves and shoes, contrasting zippers on his vests, and tipping on the collars of his polos to elevate his simple, yet stylish fits.
At the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Detry showed his style range with two of his best looks of the year by donning a tweed driving cap one day and then layering up with a sporty, tri-colored puffer vest another day.
6. Justin Thomas (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
All’s well that ends well, but to say it was a tumultuous start to the year for JT would be an understatement. After being dropped by Ralph Lauren after a hot mic incident at Kapalua, Thomas quickly became the highest-profile apparel free agent in the game.
Although there was never an official announcement from the player or the brand, JT turned up at tournament after tournament in Greyson’s threads. Talk about a win/win! With Greyson, Thomas easily transitioned into the brand’s classic stripes and solids. Then, the breadth of Greyson’s collections allowed JT to expand his fashion horizons with bold prints and intriguing color combinations. Not to mention, the brand’s luxurious performance fabrics worked better for him in hot and humid conditions.
One constant for Thomas was his classic-looking FootJoy kicks. Although he took some time to move from his trusty Icons to FJ’s new Tarlows and Packards, he wasn’t shy about dialing up some custom colorways of the two models.
5. Scott Harrington (Apparel & Shoes: G/FORE)
Earlier this year, Scott Harrington dropped some serious fashion pro tips on us. “Only wear one statement piece per look if you want something to stand out. If you want to wear patterned pants, pair them with very simple shoes, belt, and a solid color shirt. Or, if you have a cool, different belt, then keep everything else tame.”
It’s this type of approach that earned Scott Harrington his first Threadie. But, don’t take our word for it. When we asked 2020 Threadie Winner Cameron Tringale who the best-dressed player on Tour is, he responded with, “Scott Harrington. The guy is built like a mannequin and everything looks good on him.”
Game respects game.
We really can’t disagree with Tringale’s assessment as all of Harrington’s fits were on-point in 2021. My favorite was his hoodie and jogger combo for the Final Round of The Players Championship. The joggers were perfectly hemmed and the hoodie was the perfect complement to them.
4. Sam Ryder (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
It is getting to the point where we just add Sam Ryder’s name to the Top 5 of this list in permanent marker at the beginning of every year. In 2021, Ryder continued to do what he does best by rockin’ bold prints and colors while keeping his fits well balanced. You know a guy can dress when he can dial up some daring looks while making them look easy to wear.
At a time when Tour fashion has become too predictable, Ryder keeps feeding us new and interesting looks from monochromatic black ‘Johnny Cash’ fits with joggers to landscape prints and camo patterns.
3. Keith Mitchell (Apparel: Sid Mashburn; Shoes: FootJoy)
There is no doubt that Keith Mitchell was the fashion surprise of the year and is our highest-ranking newcomer on our best-dressed list. A year ago, Mitchell was just another dude on Tour wearing an abundance of Swooshes. In fact, on any given day, he was probably wearing the same kit as another Nike player.
Fast forward 12 months and he is picking up his first Threadie. The difference? 2021 saw him team up with American designer Sid Mashburn to create modern reboots of classic fairway fashions from the ’80s. He had us searching the Getty site after every round to see if there were pics of his outfit of the day.
While the rest of the Tour was going all-in on techie athleisure looks, Mitchell rolled the dice and won with his old-school style. His cotton-blend polos featured slightly longer and wider sleeves and a more generous cut than we have become accustomed to in recent years. The open plackets gave off an air of nonchalance that removed any stuffiness from his looks.
Mitchell’s pleated and cuffed trousers were repeatedly the most talked about pieces of his ensembles. No these weren’t your father’s tripled-pleated khakis from the ’80s. The single pleats combined with carrot-shaped legs and a length that saw the hems just sweep the tops of his FootJoy Packards offered a contemporary take on classic golf looks. The tabbed waistbands didn’t require belts and created smooth transitions from top to bottom.
Rounding out Mitchell’s fits, were high-crown visors that had visions of Tom Kite and Larry Mize dancing in our heads. Seriously, does anyone wear a high-crown visor better than Keith Mitchell? We think not.
2. Billy Horschel (Apparel: Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
It took many years, but this year, I finally found something I didn’t like about Billy Horschel’s on-course looks. No, it had nothing to do with his stylish Ralph Lauren threads or his sick FootJoy Tarlows. Instead, it had everything to do with that West Ham United bag his caddie was toting (Just kidding, Billy. Just kidding.)
On a more serious note, this was another year in which Horschel showed up and showed out on a daily basis. This guy never misses a beat in the fashion department and nails every detail of his outfits. No one is sartorially more consistent than BillyHo.
Over the years, the secret to Billy’s success has been his ability to create well-balanced looks. Whether it is a printed top or some flashy FJs, he limits his fits to one eye-catching piece. The rest of the pieces are the supporting cast that allows that one standout piece to shine.
The highlight of Horschel’s 2021 wardrobe was his return to daring print trousers. Whether it was the floral print in Hawaii that brought back memories of your grandmother’s living room drapes or the tonal crabs at The Open Championship, everything seemed right in the world when Billy was breaking out the fancy pants for the big events.
1. Erik van Rooyen (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: ECCO)
Erik van Rooyen grabs his third Threadie and goes back-to-back in the number one spot in our annual best-dressed list. A late-season run that included his first PGA Tour victory and a Top 25 finish in the FedEx Cup standings kept EVR’s fashion flexes in the spotlight.
Your feelings about joggers on the course will impact your ranking of van Rooyen on this list, but I’m not here to relitigate The Great Jogger Debate. Besides, there is little argument that he has created a unique style for himself that stands out from the crowd and few players have the swagger to even think about pulling off his fits. Sure, Rickie Fowler introduced the golf world to joggers, but EVR made us want to wear them.
Round after round, van Rooyen gave us intriguing color combos and bold prints that had me running to my closet trying to recreate his latest look for my weekend round. At a time when anything goes in golf fashion, the brands and players who can seamlessly integrate a juxtaposition of styles into their fits are the ones who are capturing my attention. EVR does this better than any other player right now thanks to the breadth of styles in Greyson’s collection and its ‘dress sport’ aesthetic.
How do you elevate joggers? Give them a dressy look and pair them with a polo with a sophisticated spread collar. Want to add sophistication to a hoodie? Craft it from luxurious Cashmere. Looking to modernize a crewneck sweater? Create a bold camo pattern. van Rooyen made it all look effortless.
On the footwear front, EVR switched to ECCO’s athletic-looking BIOM H4s in 2021 and they proved to be a perfect complement to his joggers and hoodies. The numerous colorways synced well with Greyson’s palettes and added an extra splash of color to his looks.
Feature image: Greyson Clothiers