Golf can feel so pathetic at times.
During the final round of the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club, Rory McIlroy blew minds and reignited controversy by...wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt?
That’s right. A guy wore a hoodie in cold and wet conditions and it really caused a stir.
After posting rounds of 73, 67, and 67, Rory started off hot in the final round of the tournament, making seven birdies on his first 15 holes to shoot a six-under 66 - but that didn’t matter. The real story was the hoodie he had the gall to wear at a PGA event.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is everything that is wrong with golf.
From Rory’s gray sweatshirt, to the controversy surrounding Erik Van Rooyen for wearing joggers at the 2019 Open Championship, any time a player strays from golf's buttoned-up conventions it gets covered by the golf media and broadcasters like it’s a major story.
It is not a major story.
Spending countless minutes of airtime and blog posts (like...this one) discussing a hooded sweatshirt or joggers is not only completely boring, it also highlights how out of touch with the average fan broadcasters and the media are.
The truth is, very few people care about these things. Fans may care in the sense that joggers look ridiculous (and they may wonder why a grown man would opt to wear trousers that look like their mother's capris), but by and large they aren't concerned about some ankle-high pants sending the game into a death spiral. Times change, styles change, and showing a little ankle or wearing a jacket with a hood is not going to destroy the game we love.
This kind of embarrassing over-analyzation extends beyond apparel choices, as well. Any time a player shows some emotion or approaches an aspect of the game with a more casual demeanor it becomes fodder for the talking heads to discus and rehash ad nauseam. Case in point: Kevin Na and Tiger Woods walking in putts at the 2019 Shriners Hospitals’ for Children Open. A moment that was admittedly pretty fun to watch, turned into day-long highlight-reel material with broadcasters constantly gushing about it. Hearing broadcasters talk about what took place with such gee-whiz! wonder and excitement was pathetic. The guys walked in their putts - they didn't do backflips off the grandstands.
Golf is a fun game and now more than ever, with all the young talent topping leaderboards each week, it's more human than ever. There is plenty of great content and exciting things happen on and off the course all the time. The sooner broadcasters and the media stop treating the game like its still 1950 and only played by proper and reserved "gentlemen", the better off we'll be.
Fans are not shocked by sweatshirts or joggers, fans are not awestruck by guys being a little playful on the course. Embrace the influx of self-expression and don't make a big deal about it.