Hands up if you're suffering from a fever today — Ryder Cup 2020 fever, to be precise. After a long Covid delay, the tournament finally tees off at Wisconsin later this afternoon, where the USA will be desperate to wrestle back the iconic gold trophy from Europe. Already they may be under the cosh, at least in the sartorial stakes.
As has been the case for the last three Ryder Cups, Rory McIlroy and his European cohorts will don duds by Italian cashmere god Loro Piana. The collection, designed in tandem with team captain Pádraig Harrington, comprises a range of technologically-bonkers gear (we're only wearing Storm System® rain shields, baby!) to be worn on and off the course, and arrives with a predictably exorbitant price point. Take the waterproof jacket, which is available to buy for a bargain $2,900, or the technical polo shirt — it looks a bit like Prada, if you squint — yours for just $800. Hell, even the baseball cap runs close to $300! It's often said golf is a rich man's sport, but this is the kind of luxury you wouldn't expect to see down the local club.
In a nod to the host city and nearby Green Bay Packers, the European team wore special tracksuits with green stripes during Wednesday's practice. As if they weren't proving popular enough with the locals enough already, they then donned cheeseheads, as worn by the NFL side's loyal fans. No comment on the headwear.
"When we were doing the clothing with Loro Piana, they were talking about maybe bringing some Irish colors in for me," said Harrington. "I'm not really into that sort of stuff, so I came up with, 'Why don't we do something with Wisconsin?' Obviously the Green Bay Packers fit both the Irish and the Green Bay Packers, and then the cheeseheads came in and we had a bit of fun with it."
Like Team Europe, Team USA has remained faithful to its long-term outfitter, and will play in patriotic red, white, and blue Ralph Lauren threads for the fourth year running. Their capsule comprises Polo Golf and RLX Golf apparel, all of which has been kitted out to the nines with weather beating mod cons. It's unsurprisingly way more affordable than the Lorry P stuff (the polo will set you back $98), but honestly? It's just a bit too "dad" for me. That's fine, though — we're talking about a golf collection here, FFS — and playing it safe in this arena is often advisable, especially when you consider previous monstrosities such as the US's infamous 1999 shirt.
Team USA will rock RLX Course designs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, while on Wednesday and Sunday, they'll switch to Air Tech Pique polo shirts, complete with chest stripe. While it's mostly utterly inoffensive, consider Justin Thomas, who would no doubt rather have played in any other brand. He was dropped from a partnership deal following a homophobic slur he made when missing a putt at the Tournament of Champions in January. When a journalist asked him his thoughts on the uniforms, he wasn't happy.
When it comes to horrendous fashion in sport, the Ryder Cup is usually right up there. But this year? Both are fine. If we had to pick a favorite, we're going with Team Loro Piana, but really, we'd just be happy with a haul of NOCTA.