Wearing white at The Masters: The story behind the tradition

Wearing white at The Masters: The story behind the tradition

DALLAS, TX - A brand new PPA Tour season starts in just a couple of weeks, beginning with The Masters in Palm Springs, CA on Jan. 9.

It’s the only tournament on the schedule with a formal dress code: all white.

According to the PPA, the color symbolizes a fresh start for the Tour and players alike. It's a metaphor for athletes working towards achieving new goals and objectives.

If you’re a tennis fan, you know exactly where the inspiration for the attire choice comes from - Wimbledon.

Pickleball has strong ties to tennis, of course, given the number of former players who've already picked up a paddle... and that number is growing by the day with notable names like Jack Sock, Genie Bouchard, Sam Querrey and Donald Young set to join the PPA Tour.

“As a former tennis player, there are a few tournaments that I played where we'd wear white. It just goes back to those roots of tennis and adds a little bit more tradition,” said Connor Garnett. “For pickleball, as its kind of emerging, having certain tournaments with certain characteristics, whether it’s wearing white at the Masters or having Pickleball Boulevard at Nationals, it’s so cool to see the sport creating some of these traditions.”

Wearing white represents formality and puts players on an even visual playing field, too.

It also just looks nice.

“The Masters is definitely the cleanest tournament of the year,” said Christian Alshon, who like Garnett played tennis in the collegiate ranks. “You’ve got everybody wearing white all around you, and it’s got this clean vibe to it. I think it’s cool to emulate Wimbledon.”


The tradition of wearing white at Wimbledon stems from the 1800s when visible perspiration was considered improper. White is the most effective color at hiding sweat stains, so it ultimately became the mandatory dress code.

The all-white rule, however, has been a source of frustration for players at Wimbledon over the years, with the guidelines only getting progressively stricter. See the full list of attire-related requirements.

Needless to say, it’s specific.

Consequently, there have been countless examples of dress code violations from even the most decorated competitors.

Eight-time Wimbledon singles champion, Roger Federer, wore orange-soled tennis shoes in 2013. After receiving a warning, he arrived the next day with proper white-soled shoes.

Former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Venus Williams, was asked to change her undergarment mid-match in 2017 when her pink bra strap was showing.

In 2022, Wimbledon finally relaxed its strict guidelines for the first time in event history.

Women are permitted to wear solid, mid/dark colored undershorts provided that they are no longer than their shorts or skirt, with the intention to alleviate the anxieties of players menstruating during the tournament. All of the other guidelines remain in effect.

The Masters doesn't operate like that. Just looking at a few outfits from last year, some of the shoes would easily have violated the Wimbledon dress code.

Nevertheless, players wearing white means the 2024 PPA Tour campaign has officially begun, and that's something we can all be excited about!

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