Ryan Kang/Associated Press
Woods carded an eagle on the first hole of the round thanks to a putt that was 24 feet and eight inches long. Bryant wore Nos. 24 and 8 during his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Woods said after the round, per Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel. “I didn’t know about the putt being that long.”
Bryant was killed along with his daughter Gianna, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan last month in a helicopter crash. Several golfers, including Woods, were close to the basketball legend and used the opportunity to honor him on the course just outside of Los Angeles.
“No matter what we do, I think for a while we’re going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world,” Woods said Thursday. “Very ironic that it happened to have those numbers on those holes and those exact measurements.”
The tournament organizers are also paying tribute to the late Lakers star with a purple and gold sign with “Mamba” printed on it at the eighth hole tee box and a purple and gold flag on the No. 8 green.