Sergio Garcia says shorts should be allowed at more golf tournaments

Sydney (AFP) –


Spanish great Sergio Garcia on Wednesday said players should be allowed to wear shorts at more golf tournaments after the European Tour permitted the move for the first time last week.

With temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) during the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa, organisers relaxed their strict rules against shorts.

Former Masters champion Garcia said it was a long overdue move and should be introduced more widely.

"I would love to see that. I've said it many times -- I think at the end of the day, having the possibility of playing with shorts it only kind of brings us together to the supporters," he said ahead of the Australian Open in Sydney.

"Because when you go to a course, unless it's winter and it's really cold, if it's spring or summer and the temperatures are nice, when you go to a normal course, 90 percent of the people are wearing shorts.

"So I think the connection would feel even closer. It probably will happen but we don't know exactly when."

While golfers wear shorts during practice rounds and at pre-tournament pro-ams, they were not permitted during competitions until the searing heat in South Africa brought a change of heart.

Women can wear shorts on the various professional circuits, including Europe, Asia and the United States.

The European Tour said the relaxation in the rules only applied to the Alfred Dunhill Championship tournament for now. Some golfers took up the opportunity in South Africa, but many stuck with long trousers.

Garcia is in Sydney looking to add another Open title to his name, having already won his native Spanish Open, the Irish Open and this year's Dutch Open.

He knows about the names on the Australian Open trophy -– Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer to name a handful -– and is keen to join them.

"The names, I haven't looked at all of them, but the names are very, very impressive. I know most of them. It just shows you the quality of this tournament," he said.

"Yes, it would be nice (to win). It's a shame that I haven't played this Open before. It's my debut as almost a 40-year-old. It kind of sounds a little bit funny, but I'm excited to play well and give it a good run."