TaylorMade staffers honor Kobe Bryant with special headcovers at Genesis
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — As players and tournaments continue to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and other TaylorMade staffers are remembering the superstar this week at the Genesis Invitational with special headcovers.
With this week’s tournament being played less than 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles, TaylorMade created yellow and purple (Los Angeles Lakers colors) driver and fairway wood headcovers featuring Bryant’s two jersey numbers when he played, along with the words “Mamba Mentality” — a philosophy he lived by each day — stitched down the front.
A putter cover was also designed that includes Bryant’s jersey numbers and the initials of the others who were on board the helicopter. The stars are meant to remember those who perished in the crash as well.
“I’m sure like a lot of people, it’s hard to put into words what transpired, and the fact that it’s a reality,” Tiger Woods said on Tuesday. “Part of me thinks that it’s not real. And finding out after [caddie Joe LaCava] was telling me coming off the 18th green, that was unbelievable. I don’t really know what I said post-round. I was in shock just like everyone else, trying to put it in words going forward … The reality of the situation is Kobe and Gigi are not here, but it’s hard to accept. People who are close him and all the families, it’s just hard to accept that reality.”
Last week at the Phoenix Open, the tournament chose to set the Sunday hole location 24 steps on and 8 from the left on the iconic par-3 16th. The numbers 24 and 8 signify the jersey numbers Bryant wore throughout his career with the Lakers.
Other tributes have included Justin Thomas using Titleist Vokey Design SM8 wedges bearing Bryant’s name and “Mamba Mentality” philosophy — the clubs are currently being auctioned off — and wearing Bryant’s No. 33 Lower Merion High School jersey while playing the 16th hole. Tony Finau also wore Bryant’s No. 8 jersey while playing the hole all week.
Have you seen our new “Subpar” series? Check out the first installment featuring John Rahm below!