It’s the greatest time of the year for fans of professional golf. The Masters kicked off on Thursday, and the leaderboard is full of familiar names. Leading the pack is defending champion Jordan Spieth, who carded a superb 66 to finish day one with a two stroke lead. Also in the mix is Rory McIlroy, who recorded a smooth 70 to put himself in a tie for ninth place.
McIlroy earned himself plenty of attention online, but most of it had nothing to do with his performance. Instead, it was McIlroy’s shoes that caused all the buzz. McIlroy, Nike’s biggest name in the golf world (Tiger Woods aside) found an awesome way to pay tribute to fellow Nike athlete and retiring NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 7, 2016
McIlroy wore custom black and gold shoes that had “4/13” inscribed on the outside heel. 4/13 represents April 13th, which will be the date of of Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game.
— GOLF.com (@golf_com) April 7, 2016
Rory McIlroy may never have pulled up for a jumper with a hand in his face, but that doesn’t mean he can’t recognize greatness when he sees it.