For many years, Tiger Woods was the name and face of Nike Golf, however Woods fall from grace combined with the emergence of another raw, genuine talent has led to Rory McIlroy becoming the newest addition to the Nike Golf stable.
Alongside Woods, Nike now boast the top two names in golf and two professionals who many people feel will become two of the hottest competitors over the next few years.
McIlroy’s deal is reputed to be worth £156m over ten years and he will begin using Nike’s apparel, clubs shoes and balls immediately, starting at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in Dubai.
“I chose Nike for a number of reasons,” revealed McIlroy upon the deal being announced on Monday.
“It’s a company and a brand that really resonates with me. It’s young, it’s athletic, it’s innovative. They are commited to being the best, as am I”.
To celebrate the announcement, Nike have already released an humorous pre-recorded advertisement featuring McIlroy alongside Tiger Woods.
The announcement means that McIlroy’s time as a Titleist golfer is now officially at an end.
Perhaps more surprising is the announcement that McIlroy will switch all his clubs to the Nike brand. Although the Irishman had been spotted practising with Nike clubs over the past few weeks, at that time he still had his trusted Scotty Cameron putter in the bag.
Yet, this list published by Nike Golf’s Facebook page of the equipment McIlroy will use initially in 2013, seems to show that he will be using all Nike products when playing on tour.
Rory McIlroy In The Bag 2013: Nike Equipment
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert Tour 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Woods: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree and 5-wood/19-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 54-degree and 60-degree
Putter: Nike Method 006 Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control
The Gorilla Golf View:
There is almost a sense of inevitability over this deal for McIlroy. Nike are THE big player in golfing sports thanks to Tiger Woods domination of the majors and marketing power and McIlroy will only further enhance Nike’s reputation both in America and also in the market around the globe where people are less forgiving of Woods off the field antics.
The deal for McIlroy certainly makes sense financially and represents a big increase on what he would have earned under his previous deals. Estimates are that he could earn £31,000 a day for the next ten years from the sponsorship deal. One thing is for sure, McIlroy won’t be playing for the winners cheque at any time soon.
Yet with this big deal comes added pressure. The tousle-haired 23-year old has risen to the challenge many times already in his young career and he is already a high-profile sporting superstar. That is only set to intensify under this new deal.
More interesting will be see how adaptable McIlroy is to using his new clubs. Many players swear by their own brand and feel a chance can have a negative impact initially until they “break in” a different set. McIlroy will have spent weeks practising with the Nike clubs over the winter, but it will be interesting to see how he performs with them in Abu Dhabi at the end of the week.
The money he’s earned will either make him rest on his laurels and perhaps struggle to maintain his number one status, or give him the freedom to go out and prove he is now the best in the world.
Our money, given the attitude of this driven young Irishman, is on the second of those scenarios.
Pictures Courtesy of Nike Golf Facebook Page.