IT’S OFFICIAL. RORY McIlroy is now Nike’s new poster boy.
The Holywood native was ‘presented’ to the world’s media at a fancy unveiling press conference in Abu Dhabi this afternoon. The deal is for a reported $200 million.
In October, McIlroy cut ties with Acushnet Co., which had supplied him with Titleist and FootJoy gear since he turned pro five years ago. And this month, Jumeirah Group announced it was not renewing its five-year sponsorship deal with the Northern Irishman.
Here’s what we learned during the lavish event earlier.
1. Nike have a facility called ‘The Oven’
And Rory visited the impressive sounding R&D facility in recent weeks. It’s in Fort Worth Texas apparently. We imagine Willy Wonka’s factory but with more plaid and you can’t wear your spikes in the clubhouse.
2. He’s got a new red driver.
It’s red. And it helps him hit it even further. But despite the reported $20million per year deal he’s going to hang onto that natty old club cover.
3. Wayne Rooney popped up to say hello
The Manchester United striker sounded like he was reading his welcome message at gun point but it was nice all the same.
4. Then Roger Federer got in on the action
A more natural salesman, the Swiss master made reference to a previous, glamourous-sounding meeting in Rio and promised to give McIlroy some tennis pointers. “From the men’s tour, side of things, if you know what I mean,” he added. We knew what he meant alright.
5. Tiger Woods showed up
6. We saw a new ad, ran to shops to buy Nike stuff
The Nike exec then debuted a new spot with Rory and his bestie, Eldrick.
7. ‘He’s not here to get into the specifics of the contract’
The most uncomfortable he looked throughout the proceedings when asked — by Malachy Clerkin of the Irish Times – if he can switch back to his old putter. He fudges the answer and when it’s followed up by the journalist, McIlroy visibly bristles.
8 Lance? Tiger? Does Rory have any behaviour clauses?
Well, Nike won’t tell us.