Ernie Els of South Africa in action during a pro-am event ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club on Tuesday in Malelane, South Africa. Photo Jan Kruger

MALELANE – The Alfred Dunhill Championship will play its part in a groundbreaking move for professional golf wherein the Sunshine Tour and European Tour have agreed to allow the players competing in this week’s tournament to wear shorts for the duration of the event.

The decision was taken after consultation with the players; Keith Pelley, the Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour; and the tournament host, Mr Johann Rupert; and was unanimously agreed upon in light of the excessive heat forecast for Leopard Creek this week, with temperatures forecast to reach as high as 40°C. At the moment, it applies for this tournament only.

“We are very grateful to the European Tour for supporting this decision, and we’re excited about it,” said Selwyn Nathan, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

“The game has moved on, golf fashion has moved on, and even the weather has changed. We’re playing in Africa under beautiful sunshine, and as long as the dress code conforms with that of the club, then I think it will look very good. On the Sunshine Tour we believe #Gr8nessbeginshere, and this is certainly a great decision for golf going forward.”

In 2016, the Sunshine Tour and European Tour made the decision to allow players to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-ams. This policy was also adopted by the PGA Tour this year.

“It was discussed and felt that in this situation it was a good move,” said David Williams, the Tournament Director of the European Tour.

“The temperatures will increase as the week goes on, which is uncomfortable and could be a health issue for the players. A lot of players were concerned about it. In these temperatures it can be pretty uncomfortable out there in trousers, so the feedback from the players has certainly been positive.”

Subscribe to the IOL Sport Newsletter!

South Africa’s Ernie Els welcomed the decision.

“It’s very nice when common sense comes into play. It’s going to get up to 40°C here and it’s the right thing to do. It’s been talked about for so long on all of the tours around the world.

Mr Rupert is always a man who is forward thinking and I think this could be a game-changer for golf which could end up enhancing the product.”

Thomas Bjørn said he is also fully in favour of the decision.

“Golf has been moving in this direction and because of the extreme heat we need to make it as comfortable for the players as we can. We are very thankful for the Tours and Mr Rupert for supporting this decision.

There are traditions in golf that will always be upheld, but we also need to try and make it easier for kids to get involved in the game and move with the times.” 

African News Agency (ANA)