PGA Rules on Facial Hair

By M.L. Rose
Craig "The Walrus" Stadler sports a goatee during the 2008 Masters.
Craig "The Walrus" Stadler sports a goatee during the 2008 Masters.

The PGA Tour has no rule specifically referring to facial hair. The organization has a brief, generic regulation that requires players to “present a neat appearance in both clothing and personal grooming.” The tournament director of each tour event has discretion to enforce the rule, although the PGA Tour commissioner has the right to the final word regarding a player’s appearance.

Old Vs. New

Facial hair isn’t commonly seen on the PGA Tour, though it was once prevalent in golf. The clash of classic and modern styles is exemplified by a meeting between David Duval and Arnold Palmer at St. Andrews during a British Open. As related in a 2012 “Golf Week” article, Duval was wearing a goatee when Palmer told him that facial hair and golf didn’t mix. Another member of the group then directed Palmer’s attention to some photos of legendary 19th century golfers that hung on St. Andrews’ walls, including Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris and Willie Park. The latter two golfers wore mustaches while Old Tom sported a full beard. According to the writer, “laughter ensued” with Palmer good-naturedly conceding the point.

Craig Stadler

As of 2012, Champions Tour player Craig Stadler wears a goatee. As a long-time PGA Tour member, however, Stadler was referred to as “The Walrus,” in part because of his bushy mustache. Stadler first played on the PGA Tour in 1980. As of 2012 he has 29 professional victories, including 13 on the PGA Tour and eight on the Champions Tour. His biggest victory was the 1982 Masters. He’s also won two Champions Tour majors. While his facial hair was unusual, he remained one of the tour’s “most colorful and popular personalities,” according to his official tour profile. Interestingly, that same profile names Palmer as Stadler’s golf hero.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods went clean-shaven for many years, and he was even filmed while shaving for a razor blade commercial. Occasionally, however, he has sported a well-trimmed goatee on the course. His success on the course is well-documented. He entered 2012 with 14 major championships.

Johnson Wagner

Johnson Wagner drew almost as much attention from his new mustache as he did for winning the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii. “I probably got ‘Magnum P.I.’ in Maui 100 times,” Wagner said after winning, because his mustache was similar to one worn by Tom Selleck during his TV show of the same name, which was set in Hawaii. Due to his success, Wagner said he would maintain his facial hair for a while.

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