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A Cargo-load of Controversy: Bernhard’s Bottoms

BernhardlangerFor three rounds at The Players Championship last weekend, Bernhard Langer showed off his timeless golf skills, defying his age and status as a Champions Tour rookie to shoot himself to the top of the leader board.

While finally succumbing to difficulties of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, Langer also defied his age in a stylistic sense, sporting Bogner’s new golf sportswear. The Munich-based Bogner is hardly a come-lately entity. In some ways, it’s the GrandDaddy of the whole scene, a 75-year-old label that made its mark as the high-design (and pricey) darling of the ski (and jet) set. It was activewear that you could spot in a lift line or back at the lodge, après ski.

The years and increased competition among sportswear labels have altered the retail landscape since Bogner’s U.S. popularity peaked among Madison Avenue and Aspen denizens back in the early 80s. But, hey, the company and Willy Bogner Jr., son of the founder, are still at it. Even though Bogner and Langer have enjoyed a friendship since 1975, Langer was just brought in almost a year ago to help promote their golf collection.

Bogner_willy_bogner_and_bernhard__2So with Langer’swardrobe garnering almost as much commentary as his play, it was a  pleasant surprise to find Bogner back in my consciousness with their decidely contemporary golf wear. Bernhard’s colorful shirts and updated pants had a youthful slim cut and even incorporated a bit of Gen-X style. Here’s how Bogner’s website describes the pants.

“From Coolmax stretch. Two scoop pockets, two patched pockets on the back, pocket on leg with zipper pocket." In other words, they’re cargo pants.

Cargo pants, or anything cooler than pleated cotton chinos, have been slowly creeping onto golf courses for several years now, but at many upscale courses they may be frowned upon asGolf Digest‘s Marty Hackel pointed out in a fashion segment on the Golf Channel Saturday. Langer was the first person I had seen wear them during a PGA event.

Hackel’s “fashion do’s and don’ts” report placed Bernhard in the “don’ts” category for the pants breach. But I’m a little less stodgy and while I’d draw the line at something like a carpenter pant (with assorted hammer loops), I thought Bogner’s version as worn by Langer were stylish, sporty and fit for championship play. — RW

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