I can’t think of a more tumultuous year in the world of professional golf. People pay good money to jump on roller coaster rides like this, and all of us had a front row seat with a bag of popcorn.
As much chaos as there was with LIV and the Tours, golf fashion gave us more of the same. Prints and patterns (large and small) dominated the fairways and retro ’90s designs and colors continued to make a comeback. Gradually, the ultra slim fit era is coming to a close. We’re seeing polos cut more generously with slightly longer and wider sleeves. Footwear continued to create the buzz in 2022 with limited editions and collabs bringing the heat. Eastside Golf teamed up with Jordan on various drippy silhouettes. FootJoy once again joined forces with the likes of Buscemi, Todd Snyder, Garrett Leight, and Harris Tweed. Adidas dropped a special Waffle House version of its Tour360 Boost 22, partnered with Vice on highlighter hues of its iconic Stan Smith, and released a golf version of its Samba in a World Cup year.
As we dig into our Threadies, our annual awards for the best dressed players in the game, we narrowed our list down to nine with three newcomers. American apparel and footwear brands once again dominate the list. Greyson places an unprecedented three players in the Top 5 and seven laced up FootJoy shoes.Embed from Getty Images
Somehow, this was our 10th year of talking about golf fashion. Thanks to all the readers, social media followers, and golf apparel and footwear brands who continue to support our little passion project. Reading your comments and engaging on social media motivate and inspire us on a daily basis. Thank you! We can’t wait to get our second decade (that’s weird to say) started in 2023.
9. Rory McIlroy (Apparel & Shoes: Nike)
No one epitomized the roller coaster ride that was the world of professional golf in 2022 more than Rory McIlroy. Week after week, he found himself at the epicenter of the LIV shakeup as the unofficial spokesperson for the Tour. Throughout, he handled it with honest, well-thought out takes. While his play mirrored the circus-like atmosphere at times, the leadership position he took seemed to energize him and fuel his confidence for a late season run in capturing the FedEx Cup and The Race to Dubai.
From a style standpoint, this was Rory’s best year sporting the Swoosh. He settled into a sporty, yet polished style. His simple fits have long been his best bets and he leaned heavily into the ‘keep it simple stupid’ mantra this year with well-balanced color combos, classic stripes, tonal prints, and solids. Not to mention, the tailoring of his shirts and pants was dialed in. He even showed he could add a little drip to his fits when he rocked up to The Match in a pair of Air Jordan 1 Lows.
8. Will Zalatoris (Apparel & Shoes: FootJoy)
It’s amazing how one little tweak can elevate a player to best-dressed status. We’ve been digging Willy Z’s style since he made a splash on Tour in 2021 and he narrowly missed out on a Threadie last year. So what put him over the hump in 2022? FootJoy’s new Athletic Fit Polos gave him a slimmer fit up top and the brand’s new Tour Pant gave him a cleaner, more tapered look below the knee.
FootJoy has always been known for top-shelf, classic kicks and conservative apparel. Over the past few years, though, the brand has made a successful push to appeal to a younger, hipper, and more athletic player and Zalatoris is the perfect frontman for FJ’s new vibes. From photo shoots on the sandy beaches of San Diego to the final groups of major championships, Will had me scouring FJ’s site for the latest looks and smashing the Add to Cart button throughout the year.
At a time when golf apparel is trying to be anything but golf apparel, FJ has successfully doubled down as a golf-only brand while appealing to progressive players with contemporary hoodies, colorful gloves, and footwear collabs with fashion-forward labels like Todd Snyder, Buscemi, and Garrett Leight. Together, Zalatoris and FootJoy are striking the perfect balance between athletic and classic looks that embrace modern golf fashion trends while maintaining a healthy respect for the traditions of the game.
7. Wyndham Clark (Apparel: Municipal; Shoes: FootJoy)
Last year, it was Keith Mitchell who blazed his own trail to his first Threadie. This year, it’s Wyndham Clark. While Clark has always been on our fashion radar, he failed to stand out from the rest of Nike’s stable of Tour players. However, a move to Mark Wahlberg’s startup sport utility label, Municipal, has vaulted Clark into our best-dressed list of the year.
Wyndham’s fashion super power is clean, well-tailored looks. He always looks sharp from head to toe. The switch to Municipal, not only gave him a unique identity on Tour, but also opened a new world of style possibilities for him. His best, and most memorable, fits featured tonal camos, bold botanical prints, and polos with v-patch neck inserts. Whether he laced up FootJoy’s Premiere Series Fields or Traditions, his shoes complemented his sporty, yet sophisticated style. Extra points for working in Jones beanies and I can’t help to think he is low-key pairing those Municipal polos with Greyson’s Montauk trousers.
6. Danny Willett (Apparel: Descente; Shoes: Jordan & FootJoy)
After a one-year hiatus, Danny Willett returns to grab his fourth Threadie. Along the way, he reminded us that we still can’t find his Descente threads here in the U.S. Danny, seriously. Can you just box up last year’s collection and send it to GolfThreads HQ when you are done with it? We’ll pay the shipping. Thanks!
At a time when we’re experiencing the monotony of graphic prints, Willett’s asymmetrical patterns and angular color blocked designs just hit different. Not to mention, the Englishman may be the best cold-weather dresser in the game. Whether he is rockin’ quarter-zips, jackets, or vests, no one’s layering game is on par with Willett’s. Hands down, he wears a long-sleeve polo better than anyone. Further proving our point that a long-sleeve polo > a polo over a base layer.
Willett is also one of the rare footwear free agents, allowing him to vibe as he pleases. In recent years, he has favored street-style kicks. This year, he laced up the swaggy Air Jordan 1s in the first half of the season before switching to FootJoy’s sporty Pro|SLs
5. Keith Mitchell (Apparel: Sid Mashburn; Shoes: FootJoy)
At a time when the golf fashion world is rebooting loud prints and color palettes from the ’90s, Keith Mitchell is turning the clock back a little further with modern takes on classic Tour looks from the ’80s.
Since going outside the box and partnering with American designer Sid Mashburn, Mitchell has created a unique style that stands out from the sea of poly/spandex blends on the course. Sure, the natural cottons, linens, and wool need the hit of a hot iron before teeing it up, but the freshly pressed look complements his old-school vibe. While Mitchell sticks with a fairly neutral color palette that allows him to mix and match pieces from his wardrobe, when he does add a splash of color, the muted tones are as easy going as his swing. Mitchell also proves that pleated trousers can make a comeback and look good. His single pleat pants are a far cry from those balloon-y triple-pleat khakis from the ’80s. They are slim and straight and cut to just sweep the tops of his shoes.
Speaking of his shoes, there is no better way to complete his classic look than with a pair of FootJoy Premiere Series shoes. The Packards’ contemporary twist on the traditional saddle shoe is the perfect complement. Of course, I dare you to name a player that wears a high-crown Tour visor better than Mitchell. I’ll wait…
4. Sam Ryder (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
Sam Ryder basically lives rent-free in our Best-Dressed Top 5 year after year, so it is no surprise to see him picking up his fifth straight Threadie. He is one of the guys that has me searching Getty Images after every round to see his latest fit.
Greyson’s vast collections, colorful palettes, and bold prints feed into Ryder’s fashion creativity, allowing him to keep his fits looking fresh day in and day out. It is rare to see him sporting the same shirt and pants combo more than once. This is a guy that continuously keeps us guessing and never misses a beat.
3. Erik van Rooyen (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: ECCO)
Injuries robbed Erik van Rooyen of part of his season and denied us the full EVR Fashion Show. After topping our Best Dressed List two years in a row, van Rooyen got a quick start out of the style gate in 2022. He rolled into the opener in Hawaii with a glorious handlebar mustache that was as well manicured as Kapalua’s greens. He could have traded his fashionable Greyson threads for a dress shirt, tie, and suspenders and easily looked at home spinning up riffs on old fashioneds at a speakeasy.
That same week, ECCO unveiled a personal edition of its BIOM H4 for van Rooyen. You know you are a style icon when your shoe sponsor is dropping PEs for you. With pops of blue and orange, the custom design was a tip of the cap to EVR’s love of guitar, with a nod to guitar strings on the upper of the shoe.
van Rooyen has said that he enjoys being different and innovative on the course, and he has never shied away from pushing the envelope of golf fashion with vibrant colors, bold patterns, and his signature joggers. Following his return from injury, he took his swagger to another level with even more eye-catching fits, and he made them look easy to wear. His athletic, yet elevated style epitomizes Greyson’s ‘Dress Sport’ vibe with looks that can easily transition from the course to life. Here’s hoping for a healthy 2023 for van Rooyen. We need more of his style on the course.
2. Billy Horschel (Apparel: Ralph Lauren; Shoes: FootJoy)
Three things are certainties–death, taxes, and Billy Horschel showing up to the first tee sporting a dialed-in fit. There has to be some lifetime achievement award for Billy as this is his eighth Threadie. Yes, eighth! In fact, we had to go deep into the archives and our very first Best Dressed List in 2012 to find a year-end list without him.
At this point, I’m running out of things to say about Billy’s style. As golf fashion has evolved and trends have come and gone, he has remained one of the best dressed dudes in the game over the past decade. I can’t even think of a round where he missed the fashion mark.
Throughout his career, the keys to his fashion success have been well-balanced looks, attention to detail, and nailing his accessories. While navy blue seems to be a go-to color for him, he isn’t afraid to add vibrant pinks, aquas, and greens to his looks, but he always balances those brighter hues with the right neutrals. Speaking of navy blue, Billy once told us that if he wears multiple navy blue pieces in an outfit, those navy blues have to match perfectly.
2022 did see a new shoe in the mix for Horschel. He has always leaned heavily into FootJoy’s Icons and Premiere Series kicks, but this year he worked in the brand’s Traditions with the same success. Who knows what 2023 will bring, but were adding Billy’s name to next year’s Best Dressed List in permanent marker.
1. Justin Thomas (Apparel: Greyson Clothiers; Shoes: FootJoy)
Justin Thomas unofficially wore Greyson for most of 2021 and there was no doubt it was a perfect player/brand fit. Greyson’s mix of classic looks and daring prints met Thomas in his comfort zone while giving him the option to push the boundaries of that zone. With JT, Greyson got an elite player who lifts trophies on the regular to showcase its threads. As the calendar flipped to 2022, it was just a matter of hours or days before JT was announced as a member of Greyson’s Wolfpack, right? Hmmm…maybe not.
Both sides kept us on the edge of our seats for a couple of months until official word came down in early March. Although JT looked top-notch in Greyson’s apparel up to that point, he hit another gear once the partnership became official. He rolled the dice with new looks, larger prints, and more colors, and won. He even dipped into joggers for a few rounds. The partnership evolved throughout the year and saw Greyson drop a Crimson Wolf logo and bespoke capsule collection for Justin.
This is just the beginning for JT and Greyson. We’re excited to see the fashion heights they can reach together.
Feature image: Greyson Clothiers