Clash of the threads: Who wins the Ryder Cup of uniforms?

The 44th Ryder Cup is here, with the U.S. and Europe ready to battle at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Among the many aspects analyzed before the first tee shot, the teams' uniforms are a significant point of discussion.

Ryder Cup uniforms hold their own storyline, alongside captain's picks and lineup construction. Major clothing brands eagerly compete for the opportunity to design these uniforms, and fans rush to purchase them as soon as they're available, hoping that the patriotism and enthusiasm will radiate through the fabrics.

For the fifth consecutive Ryder Cup, the American team has partnered with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American brand known for its timeless styles. Europe, on the other hand, has a long-standing partnership with the Italian brand Loro Piana, which is fitting for the first Ryder Cup held in Italy, the brand's home country. Loro Piana is renowned for its subtle yet luxurious sophistication.

The U.S. Team's uniforms combine the spirit of Americana with Ralph Lauren's signature stripes and classic patterns. Captain Zach Johnson praised Ralph Lauren's RLX line for its trendiness and classiness, appreciating how it seamlessly blends the nation's colors into the fabrics and designs. He noted that he had no say in the design process, as it was solely Ralph Lauren's prerogative.

For Europe, Loro Piana's outfits promise cutting-edge technology, including wind resistance and waterproof materials, along with innovative 3-D fabric that adapts to the golf swing. European captain Luke Donald had a significant role in the design process, working closely with Loro Piana to infuse the national colors and pay homage to Italy's national football team.

In the past, captains have played a role in their teams' uniform choices. Notably, U.S. Captain Ben Crenshaw famously patterned the 1999 team's shirts after framed pictures from past winning teams. This unique choice became part of Ryder Cup history, especially during the memorable comeback at Brookline.

Now, let's revisit previous Ryder Cups before the Ralph Lauren/Loro Piana era and determine the winners of the "Ryder Cup of Uniforms."

2002: Played at The Belfry in England, Europe won handily with a 15.5-12.5 victory. The U.S. Team's mismatched hat, shirt, and pants combination cost them in the fashion battle. Winner: Europe.

2004: Europe dominated on American soil at Oakland Hills Country Club, winning 18.5-9.5. The U.S. Team's matching gray-on-gray vest and pants set, along with Captain Hal Sutton's black cowboy hat, secured their victory in the uniform competition. Winner: U.S.

2006: Europe won again at The K Club near Dublin, Ireland, with an 18.5-9.5 victory. The U.S. Team's monochromatic brown look did them no favors, while Europe's lime green vests and salmon victory blazers didn't impress either. Winner: Europe.

2008: The Americans finally triumphed with a 16.5-11.5 win at Valhalla Golf Club. Europe's peppy sky blue couldn't compete with the U.S. Team's argyle motif. Winner: U.S.

2010: Europe reclaimed the cup with a 14.5-13.5 victory at the Celtic Manor Resort. The U.S. Team's iconic violet button-up sweater vests and customized New York Yankees-inspired rain jackets stood out, defeating Europe's blue-and-yellow plaid sweater vests. Winner: U.S.

2012: The "Miracle at Medinah" saw Europe overcoming a 10-6 deficit to win 14.5-13.5. The European uniforms featured bold orange and pea green ensembles, while the U.S. Team opted for classic red, white, and blue. Winner: U.S.

2014: Europe secured its third consecutive Ryder Cup with a 16.5-11.5 victory at Gleneagles in Scotland. However, Europe's dual-toned eggplant and magenta sweaters didn't impress, making the U.S. Team's "Old Glory" sweaters the fashion winners. Winner: U.S.

These uniform comparisons reveal that both teams have had their moments of fashion triumphs and missteps over the years. The Ryder Cup of Uniforms is another layer of excitement in this prestigious event, showcasing the unique styles and choices of each team. As we look forward to the 2023 Ryder Cup, let's see which team emerges as the fashion winner in Rome.