Skip to main content

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

October 31, 2012 -- Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT)
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's Living Golf has had an exclusive joint interview with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy which will debut in full on November 8 at 1030 and 1730 GMT.

(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
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT