Spieth Was Not the Only Big Winner at the Masters

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

c.2015 New York Times News Service

Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old golfer who won the green jacket at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday and became part of sporting history, was not the only big winner of the tournament: His style sponsor, Under Armour, also got its own version of a gold ring.

First, because this year, Under Armour signed Spieth to a new, 10-year contract, during which he will wear the sportswear manufacturer’s products all the time (or pretty much all of it). When it comes to brand ambassadors, the company picked a doozy. As Tiger Woods was to Nike, Spieth will be to Under Armour.

And second, because as he won, wearing Under Armour crisp white trousers and a navy shirt, he actually looked good doing it. Woods may have been the first golfer to take some of the stuffing out of the familiar styles, but Spieth has upped the minimal ante: more classic, less fashion.

Though in general I think a dose of style helps sportswear (especially when it comes to, say, women’s tennis dresses), this tournament has made me begin to think that, when it comes to golf, eschewing trend may be the wiser decision.

Spieth’s chosen color palette — blues, dark purple, whites and grays — as well as the color-blocking approach, was understated and cool in a way I don’t often associate with golfwear, which tends to the overpatterned, distracting and often not entirely flattering as a result.

See, for example, Ian Poulter’s lavender shirt and matching tartan trousers as worn Sunday. Or even Woods’ Nike dip-dyed stripes, worn earlier in the competition. Though Woods reverted to his signature red shirt/black pants combo Sunday, the statement had been made. Likewise, the neon-edged Nike outfits and limited-edition shoes of Rory McIlroy, which made reference to Serena Williams’ backless neon tennis dress at the Australian Open in January, felt a little showy by comparison.

Indeed, there seems to have been some movement away from brights at the Masters, which I, for one, applaud. Bubba Watson’s steel-striped palette courtesy of Oakley, with its subconscious get-to-work associations, being a case in point. There may have been more white (and pearl gray) pants on the green than any other single rainbow hue.

Certainly, the Twitter reaction to Spieth’s final look was largely positive. Though to be fair, the outfit did have a slight resemblance to a naval uniform.

Why does all of this matter?

Because for many years sportswear brands have been sending “apparel scripts” to their golfers before competitions, detailing the exact clothing combos each will wear on the greens throughout the four-day tournaments — which will then be available for purchase online by all those summer players who want to resemble their idols: Watch the competition, see the look, buy the clothes. (For example, Under Armour styles worn by Spieth; Nike styles for McIlroy, and Nike styles for Woods.)

So what happens on the green may be coming soon to a golf club near you. As a runway-to-reality initiative, it puts fashion weeks’ straight-from-the-catwalk forays to shame. Ka-ching.