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Rory McIlroy, Nike ink deal

Music blaring, his image part of a water fountain hologram and with the Grand Mosque as background, Rory McIlory had his "Hello, world'' moment early Monday as he was officially introduced as a Nike spokesman.

He will be paid handsomely to go with the Swoosh, although a source said it is significantly less than the $200 million that has been widely reported for months as news of McIlroy's association with the company was not a secret for long.

Nike officials announced no terms at the swank Fairmont hotel. A source said the deal is for five years, but it does not include Nike on the golf bag. Starting with this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, all 14 of McIlroy's clubs will bear the Nike 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,'' he said.

Nike president Cindy Davis called it "one of the most important moments in the history of Nike golf,'' and undoubtedly the financial commitment would make it so.


McIlory said he spent considerable time at Nike's testing 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.''

Of course, McIlroy was doing just fine with the Titleist clubs he has used. Last year he won five times worldwide, including his second major title at the PGA Championship. He topped the money list on both the PGA and European tours. And he enters the Abu Dhabi event with a sizable lead in the world rankings.
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