Why Tiger Woods is wearing mock necks again, according to the guy who designed them
The return of Tiger Woods’s iconic mock-neck shirt ranks high among the notable fashion statements in golf this year. Woods turned heads when he debuted his new/old look at the Masters in April and has continued to rock the mock since, most recently at the Memorial last week (white mock, white belt!).
Turns out the reemergence of the shirt, which Woods famously donned for his Masters victory in back in 2005, has been very much a work in progress.
“We’ve been talking about the mock for years,” Chris Bailey told me by phone the other day. Bailey is the former senior men’s apparel designer at Nike Golf, where his responsibilities included outfitting the world’s most famous golfer. He left Nike in December to start a new venture with co-founder Maxton Reinland — Portland Golf Collective, a neighborhood golf retail and creative space with a lifestyle vibe — but was still happy to explain the rebirth of Tiger’s mock.
“That was just kind of the right moment to bring it back, with him coming back and being stronger and healthier,” Bailey said of the Nike Dri-Fit shirts Woods wore at the Masters. “We modified it, obviously — the face and the material and the branding and the structure, while getting his insights.” Bailey said the biggest challenge was “getting the neck right.”
Woods, who is famously meticulous about his apparel and equipment, fully endorsed the reimagining of one of his signature styles.
“He was all about the mock and what it symbolized,” Bailey said. “He wants to look timeless is how he always puts things. So if you look at a picture today, you can’t tell if it was 10 years ago or five years ago. That’s how he wants to be perceived and seen. … All good designers, athletes, they have their look, and I think that’s important.”
At Nike, Bailey had a support team — a color designer, graphic designers — but, as Bailey describes it, he was “the lead voice in the connection” to Woods. “I think for working with Tiger, it was more about bringing back who he was, what he’s about,” he said. “The mock’s just so iconic. So to see him wearing that was just incredible.”
You won’t find mock necks at Bailey’s new shop in Portland. His merchandise is purposefully curated to reflect sneaker, streetwear and basketball culture and features niche brands like Muni Kids and Reinland Golf Co. (both Reinland’s brands). There are also selections from Origin Golf, a standalone brand Bailey created with its own product line as well as an online marketplace to shop for small, unique brands like Malbon, Burning Cart Society, and Radry Golf, to name a few.
“We wanted a place that had that street sneaker culture about it,” Bailey said. “So you’ll see curated pieces in there. And then also, we wanted kind of a barbershop feel. Walk-ins come in, and it’s comfortable and easy to chill and talk about golf, talk about life, talk about whatever they want. So just like a relaxed atmosphere and a creative space as well. It’s kind of a catch-all for everything. We call it a little bit of a golf factory. Like a golf fun factory. Because we create stuff in there, we’re making things in there. We’re selling, we’re teaching how to dress, club fittings, so we do it all.”
For Bailey, the future of golf and growing the game starts with allowing players to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing.
“If you spend your life in T-shirts and gym shorts, then why shouldn’t you be able to wear that on the golf course?” he said. “I don’t think there should be restrictions.”
You can check out additional photos of Bailey’s merchandise below.
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