It’s a rare thing, a mullet winning the Open.

I’m pretty sure Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus didn’t sport flowing manes down the back of their necks when they hoisted the Claret Jug. 

Mullets are more often seen at NASCAR races, Travis Tritt concerts, county fairs, and in the sporting goods department at Walmart.

If you were ever in a Southern rock band, you had one. Might still have it.

So does Cameron Smith. It waved in the wind last week as Smith turned in a sensational final round to win the Open. The hairstyle might have bothered some traditionalists, but it had no negative impact on the Aussie Smith, who had one of the best final days ever in a major.

Thousands of golf fans on both sides of the Atlantic were riding along with Rory McIlory Sunday as he seemed poised to end his long major drought with a victory that would have been so popular the continent would have rocked. With most of the world pulling for McIlroy, someone from underneath the world raced by him for the trophy with a barrage of birdies.

Note: Rory does not have a mullet.

Viktor Hovland also had a good shot at the jug. He was tied with McIlroy on Sunday morning but had a very mediocre final round and watched Smith rush past him, collecting birdie after birdie.

Note: Hovland does not have a mullet.

Cameron Young – the “other” Cameron – also was hovering around the front of the pack Sunday, but he also faded alongside Smith’s charge.

Note: Young does not have a mullet.

For men who think they can improve their golf game with things other than practice, practice, and more practice, growing a mullet might have as much or more impact as solutions like new equipment, changing playing partners, or visiting the local shaman.

Acquiring a mullet is simply a matter of letting your hair grow – and at all angles. Send your barber on vacation for a few months, and let the follicles go wild.

This doesn’t mean that every hair on your head has to grow to astonishing (and, frankly, unsightly) lengths. Many mullet devotees let the hair in the back roar out of control while keeping the hair in the front neat. This is often called “Business in the front, party in the back,” and is perhaps the best mullet idea if one works in an office where unusual fashion and hairstyle approaches are frowned upon.

There is no question that the mullet can have benefits on the golf course beyond style. It can cover the back of the neck, serving as free sunblock. And, if your caddy is paying attention, he or she can judge the wind’s direction and strength by the mullet’s reaction.

And, if the mullet becomes so aggressive that it gets in the way — welcome, gentlemen, to the ponytail.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.