Skip to main content

Will McIlroy join Tiger at Nike in $20M a year deal?

updated 2:40 PM EDT, Wed October 31, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy announces he will not sign new deal with Titleist
  • Northern Irishman expected to sign $20 million-a-year deal
  • The 23-year-old looks set to become new face of Nike
  • Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in hot water with golf sponsors

Editor's note:

(CNN) -- Tiger Woods fired Nike to the forefront of the golfing world -- now he could be clubbed away to make room for the new kid on the block.

Rory McIlroy's announcement that he will not renew his contract with Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet has accelerated speculation that the Northern Irishman will join Woods at Nike.

While Nike has not yet confirmed a move for the 23-year-old, it is expected that the world No. 1 will make the switch in a deal which will net him up to an estimated $20 million a year.

Scott: 'McIlroy can dominate like Tiger'

In a statement, McIlroy said: "I would like to thank Wally Uihlein and all of the tour staff and employees at Titleist and FootJoy for everything they have done for me since I turned professional in 2007.

"I have enjoyed five very exciting and successful years with the company and I will always appreciate the contribution Titleist has made in helping me become the player I am today."

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods look on in amusement before banging a ceremonial gong to mark the start of their "Duel at Jinsha Lake." Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods look on in amusement before banging a ceremonial gong to mark the start of their "Duel at Jinsha Lake."
Golden Gong
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Duel at Jinsha Lake Duel at Jinsha Lake
Duke supports young golfers
Greatest sporting drama of all time?

McIlroy beats Woods in chaotic 'Duel of Jinsha Lake'

McIlroy moved to the top of the rankings earlier this year, finishing top of the PGA Tour money list after winning his second major title, and he leads the European Tour's Race To Dubai standings -- all of which has enhanced his reputation as one of the most desirable brands in the sport.

"We wish Rory all the best," said Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein. "He has been a great ambassador."

McIlroy's success and lifestyle have made him a firm favorite with golf fans, while his burgeoning romance with tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki has also boosted his profile.

But Woods, who joined Nike after turning professional in 1996, propelled the company onto the world stage by taking the sport to a new level.

The 14-time major champion now faces a struggle to hang on to his status as Nike's No. 1 client, as McIlroy's success shows no signs of abating.

McIlroy and Woods have built up a friendship in recent months, playing a much-hyped 18-hole exhibition match in China on Monday.

McIlroy even managed to snatch one of Woods' Nike clubs and take a few practice swings, which did nothing to dampen the speculation.

Woods, McIlroy 'too tired' for $7M Chinese tournament

Meanwhile, both men were criticized for their decision not to play this week's HSBC Champions event in China.

Seven of the world's top 10 players will be competing for the $1.2 million top prize but the absence of the leading duo has left the sponsors irate.

"I'm very realistic," Giles Morgan, the Global Head of Sponsorship and Events for HSBC told the UK Press Association.

"These type of promotional TV events happen and have a benefit for the sport -- the more publicity the better. But what used to happen was that the players would make their schedules around big events and fit in what they could outside them.

"That type of thing is fine, but these are the real test of golf. Outside of America and the UK this is the biggest event of them all.

"What makes this compelling is the strength of the field and it almost feels like they are missing out. This is the flagship event in Asia.

"These guys make their own decisions, but this feels bigger than it ever has before and there will be a great winner."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
updated 11:36 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
updated 10:48 PM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT