Tait's Take: Alfred Dunhill shorts policy hasn't brought world to an end

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Tait's Take: Alfred Dunhill shorts policy hasn't brought world to an end

Euro Tour

Tait's Take: Alfred Dunhill shorts policy hasn't brought world to an end

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Players are wearing shorts in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. And guess what? The world hasn’t come to an end.

With searing temperatures forecast for the four rounds at Leopard Creek Country club in Malelane, South Africa, the Sunshine Tour and European Tour agreed to allow players to compete in shorts this week in the co-sanctioned event rather than just in practice rounds. It is the first time both tours have allowed shorts in competitive rounds.

It’s been three years since the European Tour first allowed players to don shorts in practice rounds. The trend began during the 2016 EurAsia Cup when European captain Darren Clarke petitioned the Euro Tour to allow his players to wear shorts for the practice rounds due to stifling heat. A week later, players did the same in Abu Dhabi and the practice has continued. Indeed, players are now allowed to wear shorts in practice on the PGA Tour. Even the R&A relented this year and allowed players to practice in shorts in the Open Championship.

Alfred Dunhill Championship: Scores

Quite why the European Tour hasn’t allowed its member to wear shorts in competitive rounds until now is a bit of a mystery. After all, there were no howls of protest when players began doing it in practice rounds.

Three more rounds of players baring their calf muscles around Leopard Creek Golf Club in South Africa won’t hurt this beautiful game either. True, there will be the odd traditionalist scoffing at the idea but, rest assured, they’ll be in the minority.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Brandon Grace, who opened with 4-under 68 and is three shots behind first round leader Wil Besseling of The Netherlands. “When the new rule came in about wearing shorts in practice it was tremendous. The Sunshine Tour and European Tour have got it spot on. It’s boiling out there.”

Most players are wearing short this week, although Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal chose to wear long pants as he compiled his opening 66 to lie in second place, one shot behind Besseling.

“I don’t feel like I’m ready to go in shorts,” Larrazabal said. “It’s more like for ProAms, practice rounds and just to chill out with your friends, but not for competitive rounds. I don’t feel like it.

“We play in lot worse than this. We play in Singapore, we play in Malaysia. This is hot but not that bad. We’re not going to die.”

And no one is going to die just because tour professionals are baring their calves in competitive rounds. The vast majority of fans aren’t going to tune out just because four-time major winner Ernie Els wasn’t wearing long trousers as he compiled his opening 2-over 74.

Let’s hope this is the start of a trend that will see male golfers wear shorts in competitive play on a regular basis. Maybe, just maybe, that will help attract more young people to the game. And goodness knows we need to make the game as attractive as possible to youngsters.

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