Players in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship will become the first in European Tour history to compete in shorts, it was announced today.
In a ground-breaking move, the Sunshine Tour and European Tour have agreed to let those teeing it up in the first event of the 2020 season wear shorts for the duration of the four-day tournament.
The decision was taken after consultation with the players, European Tour Chief Executive Officer Keith Pelley, and the tournament host, Johann Rupert.
In light of the excessive heat forecast for Leopard Creek Country Club this week, with temperatures expected to reach as high as 40°C, all parties unanimously agreed on the decision, which applies for this tournament only.
“It was discussed and we felt that in this situation it was a good move,” said the European Tour’s David Williams, who is this week’s Tournament Director.
“The temperatures will increase as the week goes on, which is uncomfortable and could be a health issue for the players. A lot of players were concerned about it. In these temperatures it can be pretty uncomfortable out there in trousers, so the feedback from the players has certainly been positive.”
“We are very grateful to the European Tour for supporting this decision, and we’re excited about it,” said Selwyn Nathan, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.
“We’re playing in Africa under beautiful sunshine, and as long as the dress code conforms with that of the club, then I think it will look very good. This is certainly a great decision for golf going forward.”
In 2016 the European Tour, along with the Sunshine Tour, made the decision to allow players to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-ams. This policy was also adopted by the PGA Tour this year.
Four-time Major Champion Ernie Els welcomed the decision. “It’s very nice when common sense comes into play,” he said. “It’s going to get up to 40°C here and it’s the right thing to do. It’s been talked about for so long on all of the tours around the world. Mr Rupert is always a man who is forward thinking and I think this could be a game-changer for golf which could end up enhancing the product.”
Thomas Bjørn, the 2018 Ryder Cup Europe Captain, said he is also fully in favour of the decision.
“Golf has been moving in this direction and because of the extreme heat we need to make it as comfortable for the players as we can,” he said.
“We are very thankful for the tours and Mr Rupert for supporting this decision. There are traditions in golf that will always be upheld, but we also need to try and make it easier for kids to get involved in the game and move with the times.”