Reports Have McIlroy Signing with Nike


Rumors that have been flying for the past two weeks about Rory McIlroy signing with Nike are apparently becoming reality. FoxSports.com's Robert Lusetich has reported that the 23-year-old Northern Irishman will sign with the sports' equipment giant for a whopping $200 million.

Nike officials haven't confirmed the agreement, but McIlroy has apparently already filmed his first Nike commercial with long-time Nike golfer Tiger Woods and new signees Kyle Stanley and Nick Watney.

McIlroy, who's on the cusp of duplicating Luke Donald's feat set for the first time last year of winning the money titles on both the PGA and European tours, has been with Acushnet and Titleist for the past five years. The two parties agreed in late October not to renew their contract, and McIlroy became a free agent.

Woods made a similar move earlier in his career. He had an equipment deal with Titleist after turning pro, but left for the Nike golf ball in 2000 and then Nike golf clubs two years later.

The big question is whether McIlroy will experience the same adjustment period as Woods did going from his current equipment - which both players used to great success - to a new ball and set of clubs.

In announcing the company's separation from McIlroy last month, Acushnet CEO said, "(McIlroy) has been a great ambassador for the Titleist and FootJoy brands and, in turn, we are proud of how our equipment has contributed to his success. We wish Rory all the best, both personally and professionally, going forward."

It's not the first change for McIlroy, who's well-ensconced as the No. 1-ranked player in the world. A year ago he parted ways with longtime agent Chubby Chandler and signed with Conor Ridge of Ireland-based Horizon Sports Management. McIlroy currently has endorsements with Jumeirah Estates, Oakley, Audemares Piguet and Santander bank.

On the year, McIlroy has four victories on the PGA Tour - the Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship - and $8,047,952 in earnings, nearly $2 million more than second-place Woods. He's also nearly 800,000 euros ahead of Peter Hanson in the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

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