Spotlight on McIlroy whether he likes it or not

2013-03-08 00:00

IN November last year, this column mentioned the fact that Rory McIlroy’s contract with Titleist had come to an end and he was in negotiations to sign an extremely lucrative deal with Nike. Your scribe also mentioned in the November article that the young McIlroy may have difficulty in adapting to the new sticks in his bag. It is known that McIlroy loved his new Titleist 913 driver and that it would be very difficult to replace.

McIlroy and Tiger Woods are ranked number one and two in the world, respectively, and they are now in the same stable. The Nike hierarchy must have felt very pleased with themselves in having the top two golfers on board. The two of them recently appeared in an entertaining television commercial that features the new Nike Red Covert driver. Obviously, McIlroy will be expected to use the Nike clubs, although within his contract there should be an allowance for him to use two or three other clubs that are not Nike.

The Nike new boy hasn’t done very well at all with his new equipment. He has joined the trunk slammers brigade. This is the name given to those unfortunate professionals who don’t make the cut for the weekend. The clubs get thrown into the car and the boot is slammed. He was knocked out in the first round of the world matchplay and hasn’t been around for the weekend yet in a tournament. In January, both Woods and McIlroy were paid appearance money for a tournament in Abu Dhabi and they were obviously the main draw-cards, but they didn’t make the cut. How embarrassing for the tournament sponsors as well as Nike.

Last Friday, McIlroy walked off the course at the Honda Classic, where he won last year, after hitting his ball into water on his nineth hole. He was already seven over par after eight holes after carding just a par round the day before. His fellow professionals took a dim view of what he did, but he subsequently apologised for his misdemeanour and he needed to do that.

McIlroy has opted to play less tournament golf than he normally does and that coupled with the problems he is having with his new equipment, will naturally be a worry for everyone connected to the McIlroy brand. The spotlight is really on McIlroy now whether he likes it or not and we will have to see what unfolds. The next few months are going to be most interesting.

From the 19th hole

Three old golfers, Sam, Harry and Fred were sitting together after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other.

Sam said: “I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.”

Harry said: “My wife and I were happy for 25 years, then we met.”

Fred said: “My neighbour knocked on my door at 2 am, can you believe that, 2 am? Luckily for him, I was still up playing my bagpipes.”

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