The Irish Times is reporting that Rory McIlroy will move to Nike when his current contract with Titleist/Footjoy expires at the end of this year. If McIlroy’s deal is similar to Tiger Woods’ it could be worth $250 million over ten years.
Sources consulted by The Irish Times insist that the move to Nike will become a reality when the Titleist/Footjoy deal expires.
Given that Woods is the undisputed face of Nike, it remains to be seen what will happen next and whether or not McIlroy is being groomed to take over from Woods as the face of what the prestigious business magazine Forbes named recently as “the most valuable sports brand in the world, worth $15.9 billion”. They are certainly not short of cash with Forbes reporting that sales of Nike-branded merchandise in 2012 amounted to $21.8 billion (€16.7bn) …
When asked for comment earlier this week, McIlroy’s agent, Conor Ridge of Horizon Sports Management, did not immediately move to quench speculation that his top client was about to leave Titleist for Nike.
Contacted again yesterday, Ridge said in statement: “As you are aware, Rory is under contract with Titleist. It is our policy not to pass comment regarding any industry speculation related to any of our players.”
It seems plausible, and would acknowledge Rory’s position as the biggest player in golf. At 36, Tiger is rapidly aging, and Nike needs a marquee name to carry it forward into the next decade. Rory is just that guy.