PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – The R&A will break with 159 years of tradition and allow players to wear shorts during practice rounds for this year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Defending champion Francesco Molinari thinks the governing body should go further and allow shorts during competitive rounds too.
Allowing players to bare their legs in the game’s oldest tournament may not seem revolutionary, but for a body connected to a club, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, that only allowed women members a few years ago, it’s something of a revolution.
The R&A is joining the European Tour and PGA Tour by allowing players to air their legs in practice rounds. The European Tour began the practice in 2016, while the PGA Tour jumped on the bandwagon in February. Contrary to what some traditionalists thought, the world hasn’t come to an end since players began showing their calf muscles and knobbly knees.
“Why not?” Molinari said. “It would be a change in golf but I don’t see why not. There are people playing golf in shorts all around the world. I don’t see why we should be different. I’m aware that it might be different, but I don’t think it might be a priority in Portrush.”
The Italian is referring to the changeable weather in Northern Ireland. A July day in Northern Ireland can feel like winter. So it remains to be seen how many players expose their legs this July. They may be covered in waterproof trousers the entire week.
Molinari might have to wait until Royal St George’s next year to get his legs out. The weather is a bit more agreeable in the South of England. As for shorts in competitive rounds in the Open Championship. The Champion Golfer of last year won’t be holding his breath.