Justin Thomas’ tie and the two types of fashion statements in golf

Justin Thomas let the world know he and sponsor Ralph Lauren decided he’d be wearing a cardigan and tie for his opening round at Royal Birkdale earlier this week.

While the information, and the sketch, has been out there for a few days, the golf world apparently wasn’t prepared for what it was about to see. Here’s a sampling of the chatter from the Twitterverse.

And you have to appreciate Thomas not taking himself too seriously, as he showed with this post-round tweet. Of course, if he’d shot 75, he might not have been quite so lighthearted in amidst the needling.

Let’s talk about the two fundamental ways apparel sponsors push the envelope with major championship scripting. Both methods are, at their core, advertising. The objectives, however, are a bit different.

Indeed, you can see both sides of the coin at Royal Birkdale this week. Justin Thomas, playing the oldest Open championship in the world, honors history and tradition with a cardigan and tie.

Conversely, Jason Day and sponsor Nike choose to push the envelope and take a progressive tack with a bold pair of white high-tops and joggers, something the LPGA now restricts.

Both efforts attract attention for the players’ respective sponsors. Both efforts accomplish something fundamentally different. And neither orientation is worthy of criticism; the forward and backward-looking are both important parts of the game.

What the pros are wearing at The Open: