Rory McIlroy Didn’t Wear a Hat at the Olympics. Why Not?

Apparently custom hats go a long way

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy of Team Ireland plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the Men's Individual Stroke Play on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

If you’ve ever watched Rory McIlroy play golf on the PGA Tour, you’ve probably noticed that he often wears a hat — usually one of two distinct models made by Nike. If you’ve been watching McIlroy compete for Team Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics, however, you may have noticed something a little different — namely, McIlroy opting to play without a hat on. All of which begs the question — what’s led to the change in style, especially at such a high-profile event?

A new report from NBC Sports has the answer, and it has to do with the size of McIlroy’s head. Specifically, it’s relatively small — which means that Nike has to create a custom-sized hat to properly fit on his head. The hats available to Team Ireland don’t have a custom option available, making them too large to fit.

“My head is so small that I have to get Nike to make me custom hats, so whenever I’m in a team events and the hats aren’t custom, they’re all too big,” McIlroy told reporters last week. As the NBC Sports article points out, McIlroy took a similar approach when he competed in the Ryder Cup in 2016.

McIlroy didn’t end up winning any medals this year, instead finishing in a tie for fourth, but his play on the course did impress Kyle Porter of CBS Sports. Porter noted that McIlroy “talked a lot about how he needs to be more relaxed on the course and more athletic with his putting” and “was terrific both on and off the course all week.” Not a bad achievement, hat or no hat.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!