When golfer Rory McIlroy tees off at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on May 28, he’s certain to turn heads, but not for the reasons one might expect.
During each round of the Irish Open, McIlroy will lace up a different pair of strikingly unique Nike Lunar Control 3 golf shoes, each designed by a child whose life has been impacted by cancer.
McIlroy, The Rory Foundation and Nike teamed up with the Cancer Fund for Children in Northern Ireland to raise funds and awareness through the kids’ designs. Kids created the four colourways that were selected during a weekend at the organization’s log cabin in Newcastle.
“I’m delighted that the young people associated with the Cancer Fund for Children got to design my shoes,” said McIlroy, whose foundation was established to give kids support they may need through a variety of children’s charities.
“The shoes are really unique with some crazy designs. The Irish Open is going to be a very special event for golf and my Foundation and I am excited to compete in them this week.”
Fifteen-year-old Chloe Hyndman’s design was one of the four chosen for McIlroy to wear at the Irish Open. “It was great fun designing them and a privilege to be a part of the whole process,” said Chloe. “I never thought I would have won — I’m delighted!”
Round 1 – Designed by Sara Lockhart
Sara, 12, said she did her research before beginning her design, which is one of the most colourful shoes of the bunch.
For the opening round, McIlroy will wear Sara’s shoe design with a red toe box, purple lining, an orange midsole topline and volt green lacing — one of the most colourful shoes of the bunch. Sara, 12, said she did her research before beginning her design.
“I read online that Rory really likes different shades of green so I combined that with some of my favorite colors. I really love art and am so happy my design was chosen,” Sara said.
Sara, who also loves swimming and playing the piano, became involved with the Cancer Fund for Children when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It was a very worrying time but the Cancer Fund for Children helped a lot,” Sara said. “I am very proud of Rory because he has done so well for himself and still helps young people such as me through his work with the organization.”
Round 2 – Designed by Ryan Keenan
On Friday, McIlroy will wear a gray and green Lunar Control 3 designed by Ryan Keenan. Ryan selected the words, “Go Rory,” for the tongues of the shoes.
“I chose the colours because it is for the Irish Open and they are colours associated with Ireland,” Ryan said. “It will be amazing and really exciting to see Rory wearing shoes I have designed.”
The Cancer Fund for Children helped Ryan, 16, find solace after he discovered his mom had cancer.
“When my mom became diagnosed and was going though operations, I became very sad and worried,” Ryan said. “Attending time at the log cabin allowed me to just get away from it all for a weekend and be with people in a similar situation who knew what I was going through.”
Round 3 – Designed by Chloe Hyndman
To start the weekend, the World No. 1 will sport a blue and white colourway created by Chloe.
“My design is a combination of what I would wear and what I thought Rory would like,” Chloe said. “I picked black and white to make them look professional, but then added a print to keep them fun and recent. I also added blue to make them more colourful, and to ensure that all eyes will be on Rory on the course!”
Chloe included “Irish Open” on the tongue of the shoes. Chloe, 15, has been supported by the charity since she was 12 years old.
“I was 11 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was a really difficult time and I really didn’t understand what was going on,” Chloe said. “Spending time away with the Cancer Fund for Children has made me realize I am not alone and that I will be alright in the end.”
Round 4 – Designed by Alex Kernaghan
On Sunday, McIlroy will wear a multi-coloured version of the shoe created by Alex Kernaghan, 13. The design features yellow, green, white and blue for a unique colourway.
“It says ‘Be You’ on my Nike shoes because that’s all you ever should be – yourself. I also added in a bit of blue as it’s my dad’s favorite colour and yellow to represent the charity,” Alex said.
The children were presented with their very own pair of Lunar Control 3 shoes complete with their designs, gifts from Nike and The Rory Foundation.