We all know golf is a gentleman’s game, which is supposed to have the same rules and etiquette apply to the tour pro and the weekend hacker alike. The big time, big money world of PGA Tour professionals is dominated by men, young and old, who present themselves to fans (and sponsors) as as clean cut, straight as an arrow all-American gentlemen. Nevermind that the whole Tiger Woods meltdown fostered plenty of discussion of the seedy reality behind the Tour’s velvet ropes, what I’m most focused upon is the “clean cut” trait most professionals maintain.
I’ve enjoyed recently embracing my inner Highlander Scotsman and allowing my formidable beard to flourish this winter. Yet, for as long as I can remember, there has been a dearth of bearded golfers on the PGA and Champions Tours. Sure, there have been some memorable mustaches sported on the links (we’re looking at you, Craig Stadler and Gary McCord), and many of the Tour’s young Turks have played around with soul patches, goatees, or incredibly bad mustaches. And if I were walking six-plus miles a day for a living, especially in places like Memphis in June, I might shave twice a day if it helped keep cool.
But, seriously, how can guys named Fuzzy Zoeller and Colin Montgomerie not have so much as a five o’clock shadow? I’m sure sponsors want their golfers to be as appealing to as many of the masses as possible, and there’s probably plenty of research that says consumers place some kind of negative connotation on a man that hides behind a beard. But surely there is a niche there for the taking for a testosterone-fueled man’s man, a slob, or caveman out there isn’t there? I mean, John Daly still has sponsors and collects appearance fees, right?
I would bet dollars to donuts that Old Tom Morris would role over in his grave if he could see the utter over-grooming of his modern compatriots on the professional golf tours. That crusty old Scot might very well decry today’s crop of suave and smooth-faced golfers as a bunch of starched Dandies who play a game with which he is not familiar. And I’m not just talking about titanium drivers and urethane-covered 5 piece golf balls, either.
This is not a new phenomenon. Through the years, all of the golf greats who bore the mantle as the premier players of their time have insisted theirs was a whiskerless face of the game. Think about it: not so much as a single pork-chop sideburn between Hagan, Jones, Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Norman, and Faldo…combined. Okay, so Tiger toys with that terrible goatee now and then, but it’s not like he’s channeling his inner Mean Joe Green.
It’s high-time that those fuzzy-faced rebels that proudly put their inner caveman out there for the world to see be honored and commended for their efforts. To hell with convention and what the world wants them to be, they are obviously secure and comfortable in their own fur. If everything that is old is truly new again, then maybe these distinguished gentlemen are simply trendsetters for a trend that hasn’t come back yet.
And with that, I give you Golf’s B(eard)-Team – The All-Bearded All-Stars, your ultimate modern Fuzzy Foursome.
- J. B. Holmes – my fellow Kentuckian, Ryder Cup hero, and 2 time PGA tour winner has never been shy to flaunt the fuzz;
- Graham DeLaet – 1st Alternate – Though he hasn’t broken through with a PGA Tour victory yet, one must respect his most-Canadian of beards.
I believe it is perfectly acceptable to be a man, particularly to be your own man. It’s not your fault you want to eat steak, work on old cars, and watch college football every fall Saturday. Granted, some men absolutely should not grow beards; they don’t have the genetics or the face for it, and I know it’s not for everyman (or their wives). But if part of being your own man includes letting the beard grow to its full, bushy potential, then I say God Bless, good luck, and let the fur fly.
But who knows, I could be way off base here. The Wife reminds me that it has happened once or twice before.
A man should not cultivate on his face that which grows wild on his ass. – Robert Benjamin Hill, my grandfather