Ryder Cup & 4th of July Golf Style Guide

In light of July 4th weekend, we celebrate our nation’s independence and freedom - the independence to represent the United States of America in fashionable, patriotic attire on Sunday of the Ryder Cup and the freedom to look as horrendous and out of place as humanly possible while on the international stage.

As I eagerly await the biannual matchup between the United States and Team Europe every even-numbered year, two speculations come to mind: how bad we’re going to beat the Europeans by and what kind of trendy—or in some cases, not-so-trendy—uniforms the golf and fashion gods can come up with for our beloved Americans.

Since I am a rather preposterous excuse for a fashionable golfer, perhaps I am not the best judge of correlating patterns and colors, but I can say I have seen Caddyshack and Tin Cup enough times to know a tasteful sense of fashion when I see it.

As for the rather distasteful outfits worn by Team USA over the years:


  • The Americans arrived in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida wearing royal blue slacks and Carolina blue, plaid jackets in what looks to be a group of parents from a Duke and Carolina split household. Although they didn’t play in these suits, they obviously took the lesser approach in attempting to intimidate their European opponents.


  • Obviously Tiger Woods (seen below) wasn’t too fond of the attire enforced upon him in the 2010 Ryder Cup. Can you blame him? If the American’s goal was to try and distract their opponents via sweater, then mission accomplished. My best guess is that something went terribly wrong in the manufacturing process and the blue and red stripes were accidentally blended together into one, rather pretty, lavender color. Either way, Team USA took the loss in both the fashion and the competition column.


  • In one of the greatest and most dramatic Ryder Cups of all time, we all remember Justin Leonard drained a 40-footer on the 17th hole against José María Olazábal  to clinch a victory for the American side—at least the American team thought they had clinched it at the time. In tribute to Team USA Ryder Cup and its history, Leonard & Co. showcased what looks to be a snapshot of my grandmother’s wall of family portraits circa 1975. Although I am always a fan of the maroon golf shirt, I don’t believe you’ll see the Virginia Tech Club Golf team sporting anything relatively or fashionably close throughout the next few years—at least I hope not.

Where there are low points in Ryder Cup fashion, there are certainly times in which Team USA represented our country well—from an exterior point of view of course.


  • We may not have played well, but at least we looked good on Sunday of last year’s Ryder Cup. Polo/Ralph Lauren stuck to the true Red, White and Blue—yes, I know, I’m a lyricist—with their modern, yet classic, design. If there is one thing Phil can give a thumbs-up to—rather than Justin Rose’s dagger of a putt—is the patriotic outfit provided to them by Captain Davis Love’s beloved clothing brand. P.S…That only means a bright future lies ahead, from a fashion standpoint, with Captain Tom Watson at the helm.


  • Legends, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, led the way for Team USA, destroyed the Europeans 18 ½ points to 9 ½ points in a dominant fashion—with fashion being a key word. The Americans sported classy, baby blue polo shirts and sweaters for Sunday’s singles and hoisted the trophy (below) in a stylish combination of red sweaters, white collared shirts, blue slacks and grey plaid sport coats. If only they had kept the trend going in 1983 (see above).

There’s a pretty good reason why I am not a host on TLC’s What Not to Wear, but as an avid golfer, I have seen my fair share of fashion statements and blunders. Do you agree or disagree with my assertions? Do you have any additions you’d like to add to each list? Reply back to this post or mention me in a tweet. I’d love to hear your feedback.