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Short skirts are out, collars are in for LPGA Tour


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New rules that went into effect this week impacted LPGA players in Ohio and Symetra Tour players at Brook-Lea CC in Gates.

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GATES — The LPGA Tour has collared the no-collar look.

New dress code rules went into effect this week for women’s golf, sparking some debate at the Symetra Tour’s Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic in Gates and the LPGA event in Sylvania, Ohio, about whether this is much ado about nothing or it’s the powers-that-be trying to suppress sex appeal.

“When people say they should be able to show off their figure, I think there’s a fine line between looking professional and not looking professional, let’s say that,” Madison Pressel, 26, said after Friday’s second round of the Downey Classic at Brook-Lea Country Club. “There’s a time and place when you should show off your body and I don’t believe a golf course is that.”

Pressel, the fourth-year pro and younger sister of LPGA star Morgan Pressel, said the new rules basically remove a lot of the gray area about what isn’t acceptable attire. The code now clearly states that tops without collars are illegal and that really isn’t anything new whether you’re playing Augusta National or any respectable, local course.

A “racer-back” top like Lexi Thompson often wears is permitted under new LPGA dress code rules. Why? Because it has a collar .

 (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Lexi Thompson mocks LPGA Tour’s strict new dress code with hilarious Instagram post

Plunging necklines are also out along with skirts, skorts or shorts that do no “sufficiently cover a player’s bottom area,” at all times. Racer-back tops, which are cut high on the shoulders, are fine as long as they have a mock or regular collar.

Violators on the LPGA Tour will be fined $1,000 for a first offense. It will double for the second time, triple for a third and so on. Fines on the Symetra Tour, where purse money is a lot less, will be less.

Got my new #LPGA dress code compliant ️ outfit ready to go! #throwbackthursday #kidding #funny #joke

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on Jul 20, 2017 at 3:55pm PDT

There is an important aspect about the controversy that may be getting overlooked. The rule changes came about because players wanted them, not LPGA officials.

“We were responding to our members (LPGA players) who thought we should have a dress code that is more in keeping with general country club attire,” Symetra Tour commissioner Mike Nichols said from Florida. “This is an issue that was put forward and asked for by them, not us.”

The new rules sparked some debate at driving ranges and putting greens this week while players practiced.

“It’s golf and they make rules and we follow them,” second-year pro Emma Talley, the 2013 U.S. Amateur champion and 2015 NCAA Champion (Alabama), said Friday after her round at Brook-Lea.

“Everything I was wearing was in check so I don’t really pay attention to it.”

Emma Talley, right, shown here at the 2015 U.S. Open, says she hasn't worried about the new LPGA dress code because she knows all of her attire is within the rules.

Emma Talley, right, shown here at the 2015 U.S. Open, says she hasn’t worried about the new LPGA dress code because she knows all of her attire is within the rules.

 (Photo: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Most of Talley’s attire comes from her sponsor, Callaway, so she said she knows it’s OK. Natalie Sheary, 28, another Symetra player, was annoyed by the new rules because it’s going to cost her money to go buy new shirts. She can no longer wear loose-fitting V-neck shirts that by no means have plunging neck lines. But they don’t have collars.

“I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy,” LPGA veteran Christina Kim, 33, who is known for her stylish attire, told Golf Channel earlier this week, “but this is our place of business and I think players should look professional. Do you really need ventilation for your side-boob? It’s not going to make you score better.”

More: Symetra Tour players find creative ways to lessen struggle of making ends meet

More: Could Symetra Tour’s future be cloudy in Rochester?

Madison Pressel said she didn’t think the rules were really going to impact many players. Kim said that, too, in Ohio this week.

“We’re professional athletes, we need to look like professional athletes,” Stacy Lewis, another LPGA vet and former major winner, told the Detroit News in Sylvania. “We don’t need to look like we just came from the gym or rolled out of bed.”

So tank tops are out, but those racerback tops Lexi Thompson, 22, wears that have collars are perfectly fine. Short skirts are OK, but there are limits.

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Madison Pressel, shown here at Brook-Lea Country Club in 2015, says the new rules for dress code on the LPGA Tour are fine with her. “There’s a fine line between looking professional and not looking professional,” she said.

 (Photo: Jamie Germano/@jgermano1/, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

“I have a rule,” said Symetra Tour rookie Katelyn Dambaugh, who made her first hole-in-one in competition on Friday at the 142-yard 18th, “if I put my hands down and it’s fingertip length, that’s what I wear. I don’t have anything really short.”

She said golf is a classy sport and needs to stay that way, and Madison Pressel said it’s important for players to remember they are role models.

“We play at great courses like this, Brook-Lea, and we want to respect where we’re going,” she said. “I think that you’re able to look great and show off your figure in a respectable manner on the golf course, and I think that’s the way we should present ourselves to young girls.

“I don’t want to have a young girl see someone dressing maybe a little bit more provocatively and think, that’s the way I should be dressing.”

JDIVERON@Gannett.com

New LPGA dress code

Racerback without a mock or regular collar are not allowed

Plunging necklines not allowed

Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, not allowed

Length of skirt, skort and shorts must be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over

Appropriate attire should be worn to Pro-Am parties. You should be dressing yourself to present a professional image. Unless otherwise told “no,” golf clothes are acceptable. Dressy jeans are allowed, but cut-offs or jeans with holes are not allowed.

Workout gear and jeans (all colors) are not allowed inside the ropes.

Jogging pants are not allowed

Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic

What: The third annual Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic is a women’s golf tournament on the Symetra Tour, a minor league to the LPGA.

When: Saturday/Sunday. Players tee off at 7:30 a.m.

Where: Brook-Lea Country Club, 891 Pixley Road, Gates.

Purse/winner’s share: $150,000/$22,500 (144 players).

All parking: Free shuttle from Tinseltown, 1½ miles and a 5-minute ride.

Tickets:$20. Available at Wegmans locations, many local credit unions and online. Free admission for students with ID.

Discount: Half-price tickets available at 32 area credit unions.

Website:www.DanielleDowneyClassic.com

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