‘Why are pro golfers losing their hair?’ was the topic of an article on the ‘Stuff’ website recently, following media comments about the latest golf champ, Jordan Spieth’s receding hairline.
Looking at a host of fellow professionals, including Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, it does appear that some of the game’s most successful players are having a hard time with hair loss. But, as the New Zealand site hazards, could wearing caps really be the reason why these American golfers are balding?
Golfers’ patterns of balding
In order to establish the most likely cause of the shedding experienced by the top golfers named in Stuff’s article – namely Spieth, Woods, Stricker, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar – it’s important to first examine their patterns of hair loss.
Clearly, each of these men, who range from 21 to 48 years of age, sports a receding hairline – a prime indicator of the genetic condition, Male Pattern Baldness.
World number two, Jordan Spieth (pictured top right), is the youngest of the group at 21 and looks to be in the early stages of male hair loss. Matt Kuchar, 36, pictured bottom right, has a similar pattern of hair loss, just at a more advanced stage
However, Tiger is still some way behind peers Jim Furyk, 44, and Steve Stricker, 48 (pictured third and fourth on the right, respectively). These more senior players are also experiencing general thinning on top, but to more extensive levels. As you can see, Jim appears to have chosen to deal with this by shaving his head.
Could caps be to blame?
The Stuff piece questioned whether regularly wearing tight caps was to blame for the number of professional golfers losing their hair – a link which relates to the condition Traction Alopecia (TA).
TA occurs when hair follicles become damaged by excessive, prolonged tension, generally caused by too-tight hairstyles such as braids, hair extensions or weaves. Stuff wanted to know if constant cap-wearing – as golfers and other outdoor sportsmen are prone to – could similarly provoke this hair loss condition.
Whilst caps can cause a sweaty scalp which may lead to hair loss, they are unlikely to cause Traction Alopecia unless the cap was extremely tight and worn frequently for long periods.
Signs of TA do include a receding hairline, but this type of receding looks different to that which occurs from hereditary hair loss and can leave behind ‘fluffy’ vellus hairs.
Male Pattern Baldness or Traction Alopecia?
Although it is possible to experience more than one hair loss condition at any one time, as Belgravia’s senior trichologist, Leonora Doclis, confirms: “These sportsmen are definitely showing signs of Male Pattern Baldness and not Traction Alopecia”.
She also speculates as to a link between the players which is more likely to contribute to their respective hair loss, “It may be that the link between golfers and hair loss is that they are under so much pressure to win that their hair loss accelerates, as stress is known to trigger genetic hair loss in those who are predisposed to the condition“.
With the pressures placed on top flight sportsmen these days the stress connected with performing at a world class level could well be exacerbating Male Pattern Baldness in these golfers. Although, for this to be the case, they would need to have a genetic predisposition towards the condition in the first place.
Golfers are not the only sports stars to be affected though. American NBA legend, LeBron James is rumoured to have been using hair loss treatments, after his receding hairline made a comeback. Whilst in the UK an increasing number of professional football players, from Wayne Rooney to Celtic FC’s Anthony Stokes, are admitting to undergoing close season hair transplants due to premature balding.
With this said, it still remains the case that Male Pattern Baldness is the most common hair loss condition in the world, affecting almost half the male population by the time they reach 50. So, whether you’re a famous sportsman or not, chances are you’ll have at least one thing in common at some point – although sadly for most of us, it’s not their huge salaries!
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.