Nike Introduces No. 1 Golfer Rory McIlroy as Latest Endorser
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Nike officially introduced world top golfer Rory McIlroy as its latest endorser Monday after reportedly signing him to a five-year deal worth about $200 million.
As part of the deal, McIlroy will use the latest golf clubs manufactured by Nike, starting with this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. However, his golf bag will not bear Nike's logo.
"Nike has always been associated with the best athletes in the world and to join the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James … it's a proud moment for me and something I've been looking forward to," McIlroy said during the introductory news conference at the swank Fairmont hotel.
Nike president Cindy Davis called McIlroy's signing as "one of the most important moments in the history of Nike golf".
Nike also signed Woods to a multi-million dollar deal when he turned pro in 1996. During that time, Nike had no golf clubs on the market.
McIlroy wll play the new Nike VR_S Covert driver, the first cavity-backed driver and use the 20XI X golf ball, one that has a firm cover and spins less.
McIlroy said the ball allowed him to hit better into the wind during testing at Nike's facility known as "The Oven'' in Fort Worth, Texas.
"It's been a relatively easy process,'' said McIlroy, who had used Titleist products since turning pro in 2009. "I feel like I've transitioned seamlessly from one thing to another. I'm really comfortable with all of the clubs."
"I'm getting more distance out of the driver and the ball. I'm comfortable with the irons, everything has fallen into place. I'm excited to put the clubs in play," he added.
As part of the presentation, McIlroy was "welcomed'' to the Nike family in video tributes from Manchester United soccer player Wayne Rooney, Federer and Woods. A commercial starring McIlroy and Woods was also unveiled
McIlroy and Woods are expected to be grouped together for the first two rounds of the Abu Dhabi tournament starting Thursday.
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