The men’s golf tournament at the Olympic Games got underway early on Thursday morning, as many of the world’s best players teed off at Kasumigaseki Country Club just outside of Tokyo. Among the field vying for the coveted gold medal was four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.
However, McIlroy made a significant change to his normal PGA Tour appearance that many fans quickly caught onto. Instead of wearing his signature Nike hat, the 32-year-old went without his usual headwear on Thursday. In fact, he went without any hat at all.
The wardrobe choice was stunning to many who tuned into the first round of the men’s Olympic event late on Wednesday night in the United States. For the last decade, fans have grown accustomed to see McIlroy wearing his primary sponsor’s hat in every event he plays in.
But given that the Olympic Games falls outside of the golfer’s sponsorship obligations, he was able to rep his native Ireland on Thursday and completely shed the hat.
Rory without a hat pic.twitter.com/qDJFkxQhlh
— Trent (@BarstoolTrent) July 29, 2021
If I knew Rory wasn't going to wear a hat this week I would've gone all in on him. Need this info!!!
— Iain MacMillan (@IainMacBets) July 29, 2021
Lidless in Tokyo. Rory playing without a hat on.
— Bob Weeks (@BobWeeksTSN) July 29, 2021
Rory + old Scotty – a hat = 10 majors.
I won’t be taking questions at this time.
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) July 28, 2021
McIlroy is playing in his first Olympics in Tokyo after opting out of the 2016 Games in Rio. He started off the round well, going two-under par through the first four holes.
Low scores should be abundant this week, so long as players can keep the ball in the fairway. Early on in the first round, most of the field has been able to shoot well.
The top three fishers after the four round are over will be awarded the gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.
McIlroy could very well be in line for one of those honors if he plays cleanly. If he pulls it off, some fans might begin to wonder if he should never wear a hat on the PGA Tour again.