Shorts allowed in competition for first time on European Tour

Ernie Els during the pro-am for the Alfred Dunhill Championship
Ernie Els dons his shorts for the pro-am event at Leopard Creek

European Tour players have been granted permission to wear shorts for the first time in competition when the new season begins in South Africa on Thursday.

Shorts had previously been restricted to pro-am and practice rounds.

However, temperatures are expected to reach a high of 40C (104F) during the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

Local favourite Ernie Els said the change was "great news" and joked: "Heatwave for my European friends."

The new season begins only four days after Spain's Jon Rahm secured the Race to Dubai title by winning the Tour Championship finale.

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