One big difference between the standard polo shirt and a golf or tennis polo is performance. These shirts are specifically engineered to allow the wearer a wider range of motion and to protect them by wicking moisture away from the body under the hot sun. In most cases, these shirts are made using a synthetic blend of materials designed for active living.
While many amateur golf and tennis players will simply wear a polo shirt from Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers or another brand, most professional athletes stick with the ones made for their sport. Whether that’s partially due to sponsorship from the brand or because of its enhanced performance capability, it’s tough to say overall.