Of Turtlenecks and Polo Shirts - the 2010 British Open

It's a look that's been around forever, but I've certainly never see so much of it... at least not in one place. I'm talking about the "short-sleeved-polo shirt-over-a-long sleeved-undershirt" look.

In the past, at the Open Championship... and other events where the weather was blustery... a more traditional sweater-over-a-polo-shirt, (possibly topped by a wind shirt or jacket) was the way most players confronted brisk conditions. The few who topped a long-sleeved turtle neck with a polo shirt looked... like dorks somewhat odd.

Over the past several days however... on the fairways and greens of the Old Course... myriad versions of that once unfashionable look have been on display. So much so that I think it now officially qualifies as a trend.

Last week at St. Andrews some wore it well... while others just couldn't get past dorky.

I like Phil Mickelson and I like a pink polo shirt... but please don't put them together with a long sleeved, moisture-wicking black compression undergarment between them. It just looks wrong. Right?

Lefty was far from the only layered player fashion victim. England's Ross Fisher is young and lean, but still looked weird in his polo-over-UnderArmour. And he wore some version of it for each anround. Talk about a sartorial strike-out. And the layers at left on Lucas Glover, look like what guys in these parts wear to the driving range.

Call me old-fashioned, but here's how I see it: a short sleeved shirt over a long sleeved shirt should be... interesting anomaly... an idiosyncratic style sported by a player like Y.E. Yang, who looks good in idiosyncratic. That's the way it always was in the past, no matter what kind of cold, windy weather presented itself.

To me it's kind of like Ryo Ishikawa's perfectly coordinated Yonex outfits or Rickie Fowlers distinctive PUMA Caps and Shoes. Those two players own those looks... and I'm a huge fan of both... but I think it would be farcical if the majority of players adopted either style.

At the time Seve Ballesteros won the 1984 Open Championship at St. Andrews he was considered fierce and flamboyant yet looked unquestionably elegant in a navy blue v-neck sweater over a white collared shirt, dark trousers and white shoes. If he were playing today I suppose he might have worn a navy blue polo shirt over white UnderAmour... and twenty years from now some futuristic golf blogger might nostalgically refer to the look as old-fashioned and charming.

"Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do." so writes Malcolm Gladwell in his book "The Tipping Point". He goes on to define the tipping point as "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable." which makes me think that at the 2010 British Open a certain layered look may have reached the tipping point.

Photos: Getty Images