Masters Style Through the Years
March 26, 2014
A shirt, tie, sweater and plus-four trouser was the uniform for the early American sporting man. Robert Tyre Jones Jr., the forefather of the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club, was a style icon on and off the course and defined the look of early golf (along with pals Jess Sweester, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen) during the tournament's inception in the 1930s.
The mid-century golf kit at Augusta starts to look like the uniform we recognize today. Full- length pants, knit polos and simple layering pieces would define classic golf style for decades to come. Some styles have aged timelessly -- we're buying Arnold Palmer's put-together look. Others have us wonder how they ever fit in -- we're selling Mike Souchak's pleated trousers.
The 1970s get a bad wrap for brown tones and bell bottoms. While there were certainly a fair share of Starsky and Hutch styles around Augusta, Tom Watson gets a pass because he goes on to win the green jacket. Don Massengale, on the other hand, shows us why the state-trooper 'stache, Brady Bunch cut and mustard-colored polyester get-up has since been relegated to Halloween costumes. (Now, if we could only move the white belt into the same category.)
The Masters, however, does become a bright spot on the PGA Tour -- as evidenced by Roberto De Vincenzo and Tom Weiskopf -- when the tournament goes all azalea on us in the same decade.
Perhaps it was the Easter season that first influenced players to wear lighter, brighter tones. Clearly, pinks, purples and pastels would trend on the weekend starting in the 1980s. Seasonal shades are easy to justify at the Masters, but confidence will always determine cool. Payne Stewart looks like he was born in these pastel plus fours. We're not sure some other guys (John Daly and Rory Sabbatini for instance) hit the high notes quite as well.
Given the lush landscape at Augusta, and the predominance of green all around the course, that color would naturally lend itself over the decades to the outfits that players would wear, as witnessed by Johnny Miller, Jumbo Ozaki and Ian Poulter.
No matter the period, some -- in this case Seve Ballesteros and Ryo Ishikawa -- pull off wearing green better than others. A tip for everyday golfers: The easiest way to work bright, bold color into your game is with balance. Pick your spot and keep everything else in your get-up on the simple side.
For decades the Masters has served as the unofficial start to the PGA Tour season. From Sam Snead to Brandt Snedeker, players have used the stage to show off their era's strongest styles. (Same, too, for honorary starters such as Jock Hutchinson and Fred McLeod.)
And the players aren't the only ones strutting their stuff at Augusta. The galleries in Georgia have had their own ... well ... look too.
Admittedly in the 2000s, players' personal style began being lost from Masters wardrobes as big brands started to script their outfits. It has become "fairway as runway" at the tour's biggest annual event with companies developing color concepts and laying down looks long before anyone makes their drive down Magnolia Lane.
All that said, over the years the most sought after style at Augusta National hasn't changed.