The stars of The European Tour got all their leg work done ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship as they were allowed to wear shorts during practice days and pro-ams for the first time following a new initiative which Chief Executive Keith Pelley believes will help “modernise the game”.
Among the players making the most of the new initiative on the eve of the opening tournament of the Desert Swing were Ian Poulter, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Chris Wood as they sported their knee-lengths.
European Tour Chief Executive Pelley heralded the development as a positive step towards modernising the game and bringing a youthful, fun element to tournaments.
“The players have embraced it,” he said. “Shorts are a natural evolution to help modernise the game. It puts our players first and our fans first as well. The fashion of golf is something that the youth adopt. We will have strong rules, but there will be some fashion statements, and it’s a great start.”
Rory McIlroy also spoke positively about the move, saying: “I like it. I think it's a good idea to let guys wear shorts in practise rounds. I probably just need a couple more weeks in the sun to get my legs out in public! I think all the guys enjoy wearing shorts, especially in practise, and especially if it gets hot, I think it's a good idea.”
Jordan Spieth, playing the first regular European Tour event of his professional career and on his first visit to the Abu Dhabi, said: “I think it's awesome. I think it will be something that I would love to see on the (US) PGA Tour, as well.
“Guys seem to all love it over here. And most of the guys that are really talking highly of it are the older guys oddly enough. Yeah, I think it's a great move.”
Many players took to social media today to support the news.
Going to work @EuropeanTour in shorts today, feel like a naughty school boy!— Matt Ford (@mattfordpga) January 20, 2016
Great decision by the @EuropeanTour to allow shorts in practice and proam days! Golf will look more and more like a modern sport!— Edoardo Molinari (@DodoMolinari) January 20, 2016
I hope so.. It's 2016 not 1990. Get rid of the stuffy old rules that hold golf back. Make it more fun everyone. https://t.co/ekMFQJQwkD— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) January 20, 2016
Relaxing Wed morning, gym sesh and now for a bit of late afternoon practice. No pro am for me today. Shorts are on!!— Dave Horsey (@DaveHorsey) January 20, 2016