The R&A is making a change to its dress code this summer. Although it might be some time before its embraced.
On Tuesday the governing body announced that, for the first time in tournament history, players will be able to wear shorts during the Open Championship at Royal Portrush during practice rounds.
The European Tour kicked off this approach to casual attire in 2016, and the circuit was soon followed by the PGA of America allowing competitors at the PGA Championship to trade pants for shorts in 2017. This past winter, the PGA Tour also jumped on board, offering its members the chance to liberate their legs during practice rounds and pro-ams.
Players have not received the green light to wear shorts in tournament play, although that movement has an advocate in reigning Open champ Francesco Molinari.
“Why not?” Molinari told Golfweek’s Alistair Tait. “It would be a change in golf but I don’t see why not. There are people playing golf in shorts all around the world. I don’t see why we should be different. I’m aware that it might be different, but I don’t think it might be a priority in Portrush.”
Although, given the average July temperature in Portrush hovers in the low 60s, perhaps the new relaxed wardrobe won’t be seen until 2020 at Royal St. George’s.
Also on the Open front, the R&A announced the release of an extra 4,300 tickets to the event. The original lot of 148,000 sold-out within 48 hours of their public push.
“We’ve talked to the local council and our advisers and contractors and feel we can accommodate these extra numbers,” said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, “but without impacting on spectator comfort and the special experience of being at an Open Championship.”