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McIlory inks blockbuster deal
James Jose / 15 January 2013
Nike has another star athlete in their ‘family’. The sportswear major announced a multi-year deal with world No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi on Monday, which is said to be the most lucrative ever in golf.
The Ulsterman was unveiled at an impressive ceremony at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel and joins fellow golfer and former World No.1 Tiger Woods and tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Cindy Davis, President of Nike Golf declined to announce the length of the contract and the amount but media reports have said that the deal is said to be for 10 years and worth $250 million.
McIlroy will now represent the Swoosh in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories. He will make his debut as a Nike athlete this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship to be held at the National Course of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
McIlroy, who rose to the pinnacle of the sport after turning pro five years ago, had ended ties with Acushnet Co., who had supplied him with Titleist and FootJoy gear.
Jumeirah Group also announced it was not renewing its five-year sponsorship deal with McIlroy.
“I’ve always associated Nike with the best,” McIlroy said on Monday. “Growing up, whether it was golf, tennis, football, the best athletes were with Nike. I’ve watched Tiger Woods make history with Nike, and Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. Now I want to create my own history with Nike,” he added.
McIlroy was welcomed into the “Nike family,” by his favourite club Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, tennis ace Roger Federer and Tiger Woods. The three gave out messages through a pre-recorded video and Woods said: “Welcome to the family.”
“Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere,” said Cindy Davis. “He is the epitome of a Nike Athlete, and he is joining our team during the most exciting time in Nike Golf’s history. We are looking forward to partnering with him to take his remarkable career to the next level.”
The 23-year-old, who is known for his length off the tee, will be playing with the world’s first high speed cavity back driver that conforms to USGA and R&A Rules, the Nike VR_S Covert.
“The new VR_S Covert driver, is completely different,” said McIlroy. “It’s the first cavity back driver. It’s striking, it looks cool and it performs unbelievably well. ”
McIlroy’s Nike Golf arsenal include the Nike VR Pro Limited Edition fairway woods, Nike VR Pro Blade irons, Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method prototype putter. McIlroy will play Nike’s new 20XI golf ball featuring more RZN technology. He will wear apparel from the Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection and the new Nike Lunar Control footwear.
MIlroy had a standout year in 2012 where he become the world’s No.1. He had five wins, a Ryder Cup victory for Team Europe and won titles across the PGA and European PGA Tours. He won his second Major Championship—the PGA Championship and two PGA Tour playoff events—the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.
He won the 2012 PGA Championship with the largest margin of victory in the event history. McIlroy joins Tiger Woods as the only two active players under the age of 40 with multiple Major wins. McIlroy also earned the 2012 US PGA Tour Player of the Year award.
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