This year’s US Masters tournament turned out to be something of a nightmare for defending champion Jordan Spieth. Not only did a meltdown on the 12th hole ruin his lead (and cost him the tournament) on the final day, but he set social media ablaze with comments about how he might be trying to fix his hair loss. It was a lot for a young man of just 22 to bear.
There is little doubt that the Texan is losing hair to Male Pattern Baldness. Though the condition is more commonly seen in their men in their 30s and 40s, genetic hair loss can also strike men still in their teens any time after puberty. It is far from uncommon in men in their 20s, Prince William being one of the most famous examples.
But golf fans may have got their theories about Spieth all wrong. Many were wondering if he’d had a hair transplant or “plugs” as they frequently referred to them an old-fashioned reference that could also be used to refer to the modern, and more refined Follicular Unit Extraction technique in which donor hair from the patient’s head is removed follicle by follicle and re-plugged (for want of a better term) into the scalp where it is needed. This is the method believed to have been used on fellow sportsman Wayne Rooney during his famous hair transplant surgeries.
To a more trained eye, however and judging solely from photographs, whether this is actually the case is doubtful. Spieth's previously receding hairline has filled out, with an increase in growth at his temples, and seems to have gradually improved over the past two years. In 2014, at age 21, he was pictured winning the Masters with thinning hair that was much more advanced than in 2015 when he won his first major and now he looks to have at least stabilised his shedding and possibly added a little extra fullness too.
When someone has a transplant, there is often a fairly dramatic change in their appearance. Not only is the transplanted area visibly inflamed for a period of time - in many cases it will have been shaved too - but the new hair quite notably changes how they look even if the new hair is fairly thin at first as it can take many months for the new hair to settle and grow through.
This doesn’t appear to have happened with Spieth, whose increase in follicles seems to have appeared more gradually and without paparazzi catching any 'tell-tale' post-op images - quite a feat these days - although it is true that he wears caps a lot of the time so could have hidden these signs without arousing too much suspicion.
Importantly, despite the proliferation of British footballers going under the knife early on, men under 30 are generally advised against having hair restoration surgery by top surgeons as there is a good chance that alternative methods will help them. The main one is a bespoke male hair loss treatment course, which involves a combination of clinically-proven medications designed to stop the hair from shedding (by tackling the testosterone by-product that causes thinning) and also encouraging regrowth.
In fact, many transplant surgeons first recommend that men undergo six months of pharmaceutical treatment before their procedure so that the specialist has more to work with, as well as to stabilise shedding in order to make the hair easier to work with.
What is interesting is that Spieth is by no means the only golfer to have issues with hair loss everyone from Tiger Woods to Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar all shown signs of Male Pattern Baldness. While some people have postulated that sweaty scalps and endlessly wearing a baseball cap might have played a part in their hair loss, it is almost certainly genetics that are to blame.
Stress can largely be discounted, too. While it is possible that stress can speed up the onset of Male Pattern Baldness or exacerbate the condition if you are already showing classic signs such as a receding hairline or thinning crown, gradual hair loss to MPB is simply inevitable if you are genetically so-predisposed.
If you are worried about thinning on top or at your temples, you can find all the advice and support you need - from getting a professional diagnosis to personalised treatment recommendations for your specific pattern and level of hair loss - by visiting an established clinic and having a consultation with a hair loss specialist - just like Josh, pictured, did.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.