09 September 2008
Last Updated: 01 April 2014
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While the Ryder Cup provides some of golf’s most sensational matchplay battles, the European and America teams inevitably fight out a fashion war on the fairways too.
Elsewhere in our in depth Ryder Cup preview we reveal the ins and outs of everything from how the team plan to use specific Matchplay tactics to win (and how you can copy them in your own matches!) to guides on the course and all the main competitors and here we look at the important matter of kitting the teams out for the big event.
Andy Bough, marketing director of Glenmuir, who are providing the clothing for the European team at this year's event, explains how Europe hopes to gain an edge...
When did Glenmuir begin the design process for the European Team?
I first met Nick at the BMW Championships at Wentworth in 2007. I took three sets of information – a colour spectrum, which pretty much shows all the base colours available; a shadecard, which then shows different variations of those colours; and some fabrics.
At this early stage, it enabled Nick to assess colours and combinations he liked – and those to avoid.
As regards material, Glenmuir uses a lot of different weights of fabrics in its entire range from shirts to knitwear, so there were plenty of samples for Nick to look at.
We also looked at photos and samples from previous teams’ outfits and all this helped us narrow down the look for the 2008 team.
The next key meeting was at the Seve Trophy at The Heritage in late 2007 when we wanted to pin down design and colour combinations. We went armed with a design pack with 10 or 11 colour stories and from that we would be required to create six outfits for six days (including three practice days).
From those suggestions, Nick was able to map out the shirts and knitwear designs and colours he liked and we were able to fine tune.
Then we met Nick’s team at Orlando in January to agree final details like designs and branding – with full CAD drawings of the garments - and we were able to sign off very quickly on the final outfits.
Throughout this whole process Nick has been very decisive.
What designs have been used and why?
Nick was very clear that he wanted a fresh, modern look for what is likely to be a young team. He was very keen that the design of the clothing matched the nature of the players and that is the right approach.
All the Ryder Cup captains we have worked with – including Sam Torrance, Mark James, Bernhard Langer and Woosie – have had a very clear picture of their team and the attributes of the players. And they all understood that making sure the players would feel comfortable in what they were wearing was a key requirement in the design process.
The look for this year’s European Team is very sport fashion – very sport technical.
What were his reasons/suggestions?
The weather and humidity at Valhalla definitely played a part in the decision-making over fabrics. We expect it to be quite warm so the designs have been selected to ensure the team looks good, feels good and is able to perform in those conditions.
The shirts will feature the Coolmax Performance Fabric because of its exceptional moisture-wicking properties and its UV protection capabilities. For the sweaters, we have chosen a very light Pima Cotton fabric, which is beautifully breathable and also has a superb, soft and lustrous finish.
The physical performance of the shirts and sweaters in the conditions the players are likely to face was a critical factor in selecting the fabrics.
How is this different to previous years?
Every Ryder Cup is different, but traditionally we have gone for a top quality cashmere sweater as it is the ultimate in luxury golfwear. We couldn’t do that this time.
Also, the weather dictates the size of the range too. For example: In 2007 at the K-Club, we knew the weather could be very changeable so we had to offer Woosie a large range of clothing – with multiple layers. This year, we still had to offer a range of clothing, but not in so many layer options.
How will the team look?
We are delighted with the final wardrobe and the team will look great. Nick has an obvious passion for the Ryder Cup and I didn’t expect anything else. In fact, he was very clear that he wanted a consistent look for everyone connected with the team – players, caddies and other support people. In Nick’s mind, the team isn’t just the 12 players, it’s everyone who is involved. There will be a design consistency right throughout the 2008 team.
How do you deal with sizing issues?
Most of Nick’s leading players were at the BMW Championship in May so we were able to give size samples to all the key players, but the process is obviously ongoing because of the way the team is selected. We work to a standard size set – because working to a unique size block for each player would be nigh impossible – but from time to time we can introduce elements of tailoring for a player, if he wants it.
Are there specific reasons why Nick chose certain colours?
I can’t talk about specific colours, because that would take away some of the excitement created when the players walk out on the first tee on the first day. But all Ryder Cup captains have their preferences and Nick was no different.
He was very conscious of the fact that if players look good, feel good and are comfortable with what they’re wearing, then they’ll play better. I can safely say there won’t be any surprises – don’t expect anything like Brookline in 1999!
We looked at various reasons why certain colours work better than others – for example, the state flag of Kentucky is very similar to the European flag. That certainly won’t do us any harm – in fact, it might even be an omen!
Did he consult any senior players about what they liked and didn't like?
Some captains do, but to my knowledge Nick hasn’t. I think the players trust Nick – and they know his attention to detail in every aspect of being a leading golfer won’t let them down.
Which member of the team will look the best in the gear, in your opinion?
They’ll all look good. I can’t talk about individuals and, anyway, we don’t know who will be in the team. What I can say, is that the look of the team is a lot more sport technical than ever before and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.
We have created a European feel and that’s the right thing to do. The focus has been on design and colour and making sure the team looks its best. There will be nothing garish.
Football World cup Winners have stars on their kit. Will there be any special design touches for the European team?
We have looked at the European Team branding a little bit differently, but we haven’t gone into specific detail. Besides, every European Ryder Cup Team is unique – a one-off team – so the number of times we’ve won, or the number of caps each player has, is not what it’s about.
At Glenmuir, who designs the actual clothing?
I manage the process with Nick and the European Tour then and liaise directly with our designer, but all our staff are very closely involved with the project – from our buying team, who sources the fabrics, to our suppliers and technical staff. It’s very much a team effort.
What does it mean to Glenmuir to be designing the European team kit?
Everyone at Lanark is immensely proud to be involved in the greatest team event in golf and to be clothing Europe’s elite. Most people in our business have some input into the process so there is a great sense of ownership and pride.
Will golfers be able to buy replicas and how?
They will – but not in vast quantities. We don’t manufacture specifically for reselling. But from a logistics point of view, we can’t just manufacture 12 of everything so we make more than is required. That ‘surplus’ will be made available to the public – probably online. Of course, golfers can buy official Valhalla 2008 merchandise now, with the official Ryder Cup logo on, so they can show their support to Nick and the team.
What will it feel like for you and your company if Europe lift the Ryder Cup wearing Glenmuir?
Our enjoyment and pride comes from the moment the players walk on to the tees – whether or not Europe wins, although that’s always nice and we will be rooting them on, naturally. If they do win, we’ll be as proud as the rest of the nation.
Does success like that have an impact on sales?
We view our association with the Ryder Cup team as a balance between sales and brand enhancement. The key thing for us is the longevity of a relationship we’ve had since 1987. We have a longstanding partnership with the Ryder Cup committee and team and because of the global nature of the competition – and the brand awareness that gives us – we’re confident it does have a positive impact on sales of general Glenmuir products as well as official merchandise.
How will you know if you’ve done you’re job right?
Previous Ryder Cup teams have gone very much for the ‘classic luxurious’ look. This year, the brief is for a more ‘sport technical’ appearance. If we achieve that, then we’ll have done our job right.