Number-one Rory McIlroy is switching sponsors

2012-11-23 00:00

EVERY tour golf professional is sponsored. You just have to look at the golfer’s cap or shirt and you will see a number of sponsors’ names.

The name of the clubs with which he plays will be displayed, the brand of golf balls that he uses and even the golf shoes he wears. But it’s not only golf equipment companies that sponsor golfers, it can be banks, hotel resorts, clothing, cars and watches, etc. In days gone by, believe it or not, the list would include hamburgers, beer, whiskey and cigarettes. Professional golfers do change their clubs during a career, for instance Ernie Els started with Lynx, moved to Taylor Made, then to Callawa, but his main sponsor is SAP computer systems.

The big news regarding professional golf and sponsorship is that number one-ranked Rory McIlroy is switching his clubs from Titleist to Nike, which is Tiger Woods’s main sponsor. The parent company of Titleist is Acushnet, which also owns the Footjoy brand and Scotty Cameron putters. So this move by McIlroy to Nike means he will not only be changing his clubs, but his golf ball and his shoes. The 23-year-old McIlroy signed with Titleist when he turned pro when he was 18. Professionals don’t like changing their clubs even when it’s the same brand. The wedges they carry in particular are very personal and some players have old worn rusty ones. It is known that McIlroy loves his new Titleist 913 driver, so that will be difficult to replace. Nike was basically a running-shoe manufacturer until it signed Woods in 1996, when he turned pro. A brave strategic decision was made to enter golf-club manufacture. The golf ball came first in 2000 and Woods initially struggled with the Nike ball. The clubs were released a year later and again Woods struggled with the long clubs; mostly the driver. He managed to win tournaments hardly hitting his driver. Woods and McIlroy are now in the same stable, and McIlroy has just signed a 10-year deal worth $200 million. Nike stayed loyal to Woods after his sex scandal, but dropped the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong like a hot potato. McIlroy is an excellent replacement. A Nike TV commercial will be released early next year featuring both Woods and McIlroy hitting the new Nike red driver.

From the 19th hole

A woman goes to visit a fortune teller. In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the mystic delivered grave news.

“There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just be blunt — prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent death this year.”

Visibly shaken, the woman stares at the fortune teller’s lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands.

She took a few deep breaths to compose herself.

She simply had to know. She met the fortune teller’s gaze, steadied her voice, and asked her question: “Will I be found guilty?”

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