In my mind there would be absolutely nothing wrong with tour players wearing a pair of nice golf shorts and an untucked-design collared shirt. It wouldn't sway my viewership interest whatsoever.
Over the years I've been privileged to play with some very accomplished head professionals in our region, in both a casual setting and tournaments. Most all of which were during the summer months, when it was 90+ degrees outside and nearing 100% humidity. They all wore pants. And several of them sweated just as profusely as I did in the summer heat and humidity, completely drenched in sweat by the 3rd or 4th hole. I just casually made the remark to one head pro that I was playing with one day, "man - I don't know how you guys handle wearing long pants on a day like today."
His reply: "We uphold the code."
Now mind you - a soldier who's been taken prisoner in war, who's sworn to not give any information to aid the enemy... that's what I think of when I hear the phrase, "We uphold the code."
I guess not wearing long pants on a hot summer day is a deal breaker as it relates to "the code."
As long as the so-called caretakers and rules makers of the game continue to fight change - they'll continue to experience declining interest across the board. The predominant stereotype of golf traditionally being a "wealthy white man's game" hasn't changed over the years, even despite Tiger's presence in the 2000's. It's only gotten more expensive, despite the numerous course closures and businesses closing their doors.
Golf is still stuffy. It's still too restrictive... can't wear this, can't wear that. Can't do this, can't do that. Can't buy the latest and greatest equipment unless you take out a second mortgage on your home. Can't listen to music while you play. Can't wear a nice shirt untucked. Can't wear your hat inside the clubhouse. Can't wear jeans if you decide to take your wife up to the club and have dinner one evening.
This all impacts perception. And the game, nor the industry, nor the game's caretakers and rules makers, don't seem willing to make some sort of reasonable compromise to sustain (or god forbid) increase interest.