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Style wars

Masters 2024: In defense of Jason Day's pants

April 12, 2024
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J.D. Cuban

AUGUSTA, Ga.,—Automatic acridity toward anything different is what you might expect on social media, but under the Big Tree at Augusta National words are chosen more carefully. Many golf agents and business leaders were reluctant to assign a dollar value to a Thursday afternoon tee time alongside Tiger Woods, but nodded knowingly. Some wizened green jackets recalled the roomy, high-waisted silhouettes of favorite past champions like Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan and Claude Harmon, not that these members concerned themselves with the inevitable cycles of fashion anyway.

Which is to say, steps from the Augusta National clubhouse, the conversation about Jason Day’s Nylon Mesh Basket Pant by Malbon Golf, with adjustable ankle drawcords and elastic waist with belt loops, did not match the outcry of the rest of the world.

Not that having clubhouse access makes a person right, but it’s worth noting the muted reaction of the game’s cognoscenti to Day’s billowing, wrinkled trousers. Sort of like rain pants but not quite, their nylon material wasn’t a terrible choice for a day that saw a range of temperature and humidity following a weather delay.

Obviously, there’s some congruity in two career, non-white Nike ambassadors making the Masters debut of their respective new duds together (Tiger Woods introduced his own line, Sun Day Red, this past February in his only other tournament start of 2024; Jason Day’s Malbon deal was announced in January). Both golfers are at a stage in life where they’re interested, as well as invested, in having a style not shared by seemingly every other player on tour.

At the personal driving range outside his home at Double Eagle Club in Ohio, Day likes to practice in oversize sweatpants and a T-shirt. It’s what he’s comfortable in, especially for longer sessions. There’s a logic in transferring a similar feel, upped in elegance with some buttons and a collar.

I profess to be no style expert, or even enthusiast. But as of late, I’ve dipped a toe in this world. Next week, Golf Digest will unveil its first ever fully devoted Style Issue. In editing this collection of stories and speaking with many pro golfers who are sartorially conscious, I’ve been inspired how attention to detail is an element that pervades their lives. While you don’t need to look good to play good, perhaps there’s a correlation. Jason Day led the field in driving distance for round one with a staggering average of 328 yards, just nipping the 6'8" amateur Christo Lamprecht, whose tailor plays a different sport.

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If you loathe the bagginess of Jason Day’s pants, read “Tailored Tiger” from our upcoming special issue in which Marty Hackel—a.k.a “Mr. Style,” who served as Golf Digest fashion director for 15 years—tracks the clothing evolution of our generation’s greatest player. You’ll appreciate that young Tiger started his amateur career in large articles because he was wearing hand-me-downs from his father, Earl, yet managed to put it all together with a unique swagger during those six consecutive USGA wins.

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Ben Walton

For any pro, there’ll usually be a line between what they’re obligated to wear and what they’d choose to wear for themselves. Jason Day's Friday vest is another story. Say what you will, but this Masters, Tiger Woods and Jason Day aren’t dressed exactly like each other.

Hoodies, joggers, flat brim caps, baggy pants—all these things that shock eventually make their way into fancy pro shops. Let’s applaud some individuality when and while we can.