Horschel, who wears clothes from Polo Ralph Lauren's RLX line on the PGA Tour, is sporting a pair of octopus-print pants for the last day at Merion Golf Club. When he tweeted Wednesday what he planned on wearing through the week at the U.S. Open, eyeballs were instantly drawn to the Sunday outfit.
Mine certainly were, and I had a multi-stage reaction to the slacks.
Stage 1: This has to be a joke, right?
Maybe Horschel was kidding around with his Twitter followers and poking some fun at the somewhat surreal prevalence of golf fashion houses picking out their players' outfits ahead of a big tournament.
After all, these are grown men and women. They can pick out their clothes just fine, thank you. Besides, half the field has some kind of "trademark" final-round color. Most of ROY G. BIV is claimed by one player or another. And the "O" doesn't stand for "octopus."
Stage 2: Where can I buy these things?
Stage 2 could also be labeled the "Loudmouth Effect." It's how most people feel the first time they see apparel from Loudmouth Golf. They're appalled. Then they think it's cool. Then they buy some wacky pattern and don't tell anybody.
After I realized this wasn't some kind of prank, I had to figure out if these pants were really available for sale.
Turns out, the print is available for sale, but only in shorts. How do I know? I went and looked for them. They're $100. For 95 percent of men, that's far too much money to take that kind of fashion gamble. Maybe if they landed in a consignment shop, fashion-savvy shoppers would suck them right up.
Even then, most men don't have the figure to even try to pull off the look, under any circumstances. I certainly couldn't. Maybe 15 years ago.
Stage 3: The existential reaction
Then I went and looked in the mirror. What in the world happened to me? (The short answer: At around 26, beer started beating metabolism.)
I could have pulled these pants off as a teenager, back in my days on the high-school golf team. Plenty of the country-club set I played with probably wore them on the weekends, for fun. If it wasn't Ralph Lauren, it was Vineyard Vines.
Now? There's no freakin' way I could wear those, even if I wanted to in an ironic way. So I went for an hour-long bike ride and decided to commit to a diet. I told myself if I lose the weight I want to, then I'll snag some octopus pants.
In the meantime...
Stage 4: Reach for a beer and watch the U.S. Open
It seems like a lot of work right now to get off the couch, commit to sprints and hikes and all kinds of physical exertion. Before I know it, I'd be signing up for spinning classes, doing "fun" half-marathons and stuff that fit people make sound enjoyable, but even they know isn't. Just so they can fit into a pair of octopus-print pants.
So, instead, I grabbed a beer and am rooting for Phil Mickelson, because I know I can beat him in a pushup contest.