Rory McIlroy, who’s become buddy-buddy with Tiger Woods over the course of the past season, has reportedly signed a mega-deal with Woods’ loyal sponsor, Nike, to the tune of at least $200 million.
While a Nike spokesperson declined to comment on what the company termed “rumors and speculation,” FoxSports.com confirmed Friday afternoon what had become the worst-kept secret in golf -- that the world No. 1 was now a pitchman for Nike. Further, said FoxSports, McIlroy has already shot his first TV ad, with Woods, which will air next year.
For the camera, Woods and McIlroy apparently pick up where they left off on the golf course on Monday in China, bantering back and forth as they smack balls with the manufacturer’s new red driver and kibitzing about the distance they get, according to FoxSports. During the one-day exhibition between golf’s two top players earlier this week, McIlroy (who, until Dec. 31, 2012, is officially still a Titleist representative) took a few practice swings with one of Woods’ irons. While Nike may not have taken our suggestion about using the moment to pitch its wares, it sounds as if the purported ad will be along the same lines.
Two other players, Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, also reportedly appear in the ad for Nike, which, FoxSports claimed, signed McIlroy for as much as $250 million for 10 years. As of Friday afternoon, Titleist continued to feature McIlroy, Watney, and Stanley among its roster of PGA Tour golfers using its equipment.