Monday, July 6, 2009

A Spectator Sport?

(Photos the property of the Associated Press/FootJoy)

Thanks largely in part to style-conscious guys like Hunter Mahan, Miguel Angel-Jimenez and Ian Poulter, the spectator shoe is making its return to the PGA Tour ranks. I mean, pretty much every other fashion trend of the last 50 years has made a reappearance on the course, so why not?

On Sunday at the AT&T, both Bryce Molder and Hunter were sporting black and white FootJoy 'spectator' models. (The FJ Icon is pictured above.) Save for FootJoy's current Icon model and the Classics Dry of the past, finding spectators will likely lead you into the wallet-draining world of custom shoe-making, so beware.

Esteemed English boot-maker John Lobb takes credit for designing the first spectator shoe - for a game of cricket - in 1868.

According to several sources, notoriously dapper Walter Hagen was the first to introduce the black and white spectator to these shores when he brought them out to Long Island for a game at the Lido Club in 1925. Bobby Jones was often seen wearing a brown and white version in the years that followed.

It takes a fair amount of boldness to wear the spectator, but with today's increasingly monochromatic golf wardrobe, it isn't as hard as it was 10 years ago. The KC would recommend letting the spectators take top billing and keeping the rest of the look rather simple. Hunter, who wears them often, follows this mantra religiously, favoring simplicity in his Under Armour apparel and signature Hermes belts.

With the new customizing options on the FootJoy Icons, you'll be able to create spectators in a myriad of colors for a fairly reasonable price. However, as is often the case with classic items, the original colors will always be the best. So don't go all Doug Sanders on us unless you have a really good reason to. Like a "Pink Out" for instance...



TXQ said...

I heard John Daly, needing some liquidity, has designed a nauseatingly awful, yellow-and-fuchsia model called the Kaospectate, to be sold at pro shops and select Duane Reade stores.

I'm certain he has pants to match.

TXQ said...

"Esteemed English boot-maker John Lobb takes credit for designing the first spectator shoe - for a game of cricket - in 1868."

That settles it. I'm bagging golf blogs and taking a crack at cricket blogs. You and Lobb kinda gave me the boot I needed.