By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Having a golf shoe that’s incredibly stable and comfortable is extremely important, but if there’s one thing golf shoe manufacturers have been trying to master in recent years, it’s the weight of the shoe.
Adidas has been an industry leader in innovative, technologically advanced high-performance footwear for years, creating cutting-edge footwear that not only looks good but also performs and responds on the course.
On Thursday, the company unveiled its latest shoe offering, the adizero Tour, an ultra-light shoe that weighs just 10.6 ounces and is 38 percent lighter than the popular TOUR360 ATV, thanks a 1.2 millimeter SPRINTFRAME outsole — Adidas’ thinnest ever — and a microfiber leather upper that’s light, thin and incredibly durable.
“I’m always looking to add comfort and lightweight elements to my game, rounds on the course get long and it’s vital to have footwear that helps you perform” said eight-time PGA Tour and 18-time European Tour champion, Sergio Garcia, “the adizero golf shoe gives me the tools to stay light on my feet and feel closer to the ground through each step and swing.”
The adizero also has a 10-spike configuration with THINTECH low-profile technology for added traction and stability.
The shoe line will be available in four colorways beginning Jan. 24 with an MSRP of $180.
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Oakley will have another major winner on its roster for the 2013 season, after the company announced on Thursday that 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson would be joining the team.
“Oakley gets it,” Watson said. “I’m proud to join their family because they love the game and they never stop pushing technology to make the game better. Whatever they can do — whatever can be done — Oakley will do it. I respect that.”
While Rory McIlroy hasn’t been officially unveiled as a Nike athlete — the announcement is supposed to come the week of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, McIlroy’s first event of the season — the move away from Oakley to the Swoosh is all but a done deal. With the two-time major winner no longer part of the equation, Oakley decided to position itself for the future with two former major winners in Watson and Zach Johnson, who signed on at the end of December.
“Oakley has the kind of attitude I connect with,” Watson said. “It’s about keeping it fun but staying locked-in on achieving the best, even when it means taking chances. Oakley doesn’t get bogged down with the kind of thinking everybody else is stuck on. They respect the game as much as I do, and they take good care of their family. That’s why I’m happy to join them.”
Watson, who was with Travis Mathew for the last three years, will likely become the face of Oakley’s performance golf apparel line. He’ll wear the company’s performance golf apparel for the upcoming season. The new apparel line includes Oakley’s O Hydrolix technology that manages moisture to minimize cling and maximize comfort. Oakley’s also added OctoStick grip tape to the hem to keep the polo in place during the round.
Oakley’s new performance golf apparel line is available on its website and ranges in price from $50-70.
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
When Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan step foot on the first tee for the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Friday, they’ll do so with new drivers in the bag. On Wednesday, Ping announced the newest addition to the Ping G-series with the unveiling of its G25 metalwoods and irons line.
The G-series has always been about forgiveness, and the latest offering from Ping is no different. The G25 driver, which is already being used by Mahan and Watson, is Ping’s largest-profile, most forgiving head design yet.
By moving the center of gravity (CG) lower and further back in the club than the previous model, the G20, players will be able to launch the ball higher with less spin thanks to the ultra-thin-crown and body technology and 460cc Ti 8-1-1 head. The lower CG and variable-thickness 6-4 titanium face insert also helps add additional forgiveness to shots hit off-center.
While the driver is geared towards players looking for extra forgiveness, Ping decided to add adjustability to the entry-level club for the first time in the company’s history.
Following the release of the Anser driver last July, Ping’s first adjustable driver, the company opted to add the same Trajectory Tuning Technology to the G25, which lets you fine-tune the height of your trajectory by changing loft before a round to suit the playing conditions, weather, or changes in your swing. The driver comes in four lofts (8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees) and can be adjusted plus or minus one half-degree.
The G25 line also includes fairways woods and hybrids. The fairway wood comes in four lofts (15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees) and offers the same low CG for increased forgiveness, especially on shots hit low on the face.
With the G25 hybrids, the noticeable difference is in the head, which no longer looks like a driving iron. Instead the G25 has a wider sole and round shape, giving it the appearance of a typical hybrid. Like the rest of the G25 line, the CG position is lower and farther back in the lower-lofted hybrids and moves slightly forward in the higher lofts to minimize spin and prevent ballooning. The hybrids come in four lofts (17, 20, 23, 27, 31).
Rounding out the new line is the G25 game-improvement iron. Like the rest of the G-series, Ping’s latest iron is incredibly forgiving but comes with one noticeable difference. Unlike the G20, the G25 irons feature thinner, more progressive sole widths, a thinner top line and moderate offset that should appeal to better players.
Ping also repositioned the Custom Tuning Port (CTP), moving it lower behind the face (it now rests behind against the sole of the club). The tweak not only halved the size of the CTP, it also lowered the CG in the irons, thereby allowing players to launch shots higher.
The G25 metalwoods will be available in mid-February. The driver will have an MSRP of $385 and comes with Ping’s TFC 189D graphite shaft. The fairway wood will be available at an MSRP of $255 and comes with Ping’s TFC 189D graphite shaft. The G25 hybrid will be available at an MSRP of $220 and comes with Ping’s TFC 189H graphite shaft.
The G25 irons will also be available in mid-February and will have an MSRP of $97.50 per club with Ping’s CFS steel shaft; $125 per club with graphite shafts.
Gary Woodland is a new Callaway Golf staff player. (Credit/@CallawayGolf)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
The PGA TOUR season is under way, but signing day for equipment and apparel companies started on Jan. 1, as Nike, Titleist and Callaway welcomed new additions to their respective staffs.
With so many players moving from one equipment brand to another, keeping up with every move can be a daunting task. So in an effort to simplify things, here’s a running list of who’s coming and going in the equipment world.
(Note: Updates will be made as equipment and apparel companies announce new staff additions in the coming days/weeks.)
Lucas Glover (formerly with Nike)
Ryan Moore (Adams)
John Huh (Ping)
JJ Henry (Callaway)
Brian Davis (Titleist)
Stewart Cink (Nike)
Nick Watney (Titleist)
Kyle Stanley (Titleist)
Seung-yul Noh (Titleist)
Thorbjørn Olesen (Titleist)
Rory McIlroy (Titleist)
Gary Woodland (Titleist)
Andres Gonzales (Adams)
Chris Kirk (Titleist)
Nicolas Colsaerts (Titleist)
Ryo Ishikawa (Yonex)
Jamie Sadlowski (Adams Golf)
Jeff Overton (Mizuno)
Zach Johnson (Iliac)
Bubba Watson (Travis Mathew)
IZOD Golf Apparel
Scott Piercy (Lyle & Scott)
Spencer Levin (Dunning Golf)
Webb Simpson (Ralph Lauren)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Jan. 1 marked the first day equipment companies could officially unveil new staffers for the upcoming season, and, as expected, Nike Golf didn't waste any time, announcing the addition of Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley to the Nike Golf staff for 2013. According to a press release, both players agreed to head-to-toe multi-year deals with the Swoosh brand that includes clubs, balls, footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories.
Watney and Stanley, both former Titleist staffers, have been two of the PGA TOUR's top young players over the last couple of years. Watney, 31, who joined the PGA TOUR in 2005, has won five times, including two wins in 2011, and a victory last season at The Barclays. He finished fourth in the 2012 FedExCup standings and won more than $3 million.
"I'm really excited about the move and the new equipment I'll have in the bag this year," Watney said. "What I liked the most was Nike's commitment to golf and the direction the company is headed in at the moment. I feel like they'll do whatever it takes in order for me to do my best."
Watney confirmed on Tuesday that he would have all 14 Nike clubs in the bag for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and that he felt comfortable with the new gear. He did note that he'll get a better idea of how the clubs handle perform in windy conditions when he tees it up on Thursday for the first round at Kapalua.
"I think this week will be a pretty good test for me with the new equipment," Watney said. "We're supposed to get some wind during the tournament, and I've been playing at home where I didn't really have to deal with tough conditions. I feel comfortable and anticipate good things with every club in my bag, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how everything goes."
Stanley, 25, burst onto the scene last season with a dramatic one-shot win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stanley, who secured his PGA TOUR card in 2011, earned more than $2.3 million in 2012 and finished 31st in the FedExCup standings.
Also making his debut this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Stanley said that even though he played a schedule that finished in early December at the Australian Open, he's already found a comfort level with his new Nike equipment — especially the 20XI X ball. While Stanley said he was impressed with Nike's entire equipment line, he said the new ball played a big part in the switch from Titleist to Nike.
"The ball doesn't spin as much with my wedges," Stanley said. "With my shorter irons I can be a little more aggressive with some of my yardages because I really don't have to allow for as much spin. I definitely feel like Nike has the ball and the equipment to take my game to the next level."
He also noted that Nike's VR_S Covert driver gave him an extra 5-6 mph ball speed, which comes out to about 10-20 additional yards off the tee. Even though Stanley finished the season ranked eighth in driving distance on the PGA TOUR, he noted that the comfort level with the club and the added length had him excited about Nike's latest driver offering.
"As far as the shape and design goes, it really put me at ease and I felt comfortable with behind the golf ball from the start," Stanley said. "I also picked up about 5 or 6 more miles per hour ball speed, which is a pretty considerable amount. It's a pretty hot driver."
In Stanley's bag:
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (2), VR Pro Blades (3-9)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
In Watney's bag:
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 11.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood/14-degree and 5-wood/18-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree
Putter: Nike Method Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. – The smile that’s usually on Graeme McDowell’s face was a little more pronounced Tuesday while knocking it around his home club.
McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, had not won since December of that major-title year, when he won Tiger Woods’ tournament at Sherwood Country Club. Last Sunday, two years after that triumph, Sherwood was good to him again as the World Challenge ended a victory drought.
“For two years I've been saying things like ‘processes’ and ‘trying to get better and be patient and hopefully the wins will come’,” he said. “I guess I got fed up with telling everybody that ‘I'm playing well, playing well.’, guess I'm relieved to get across the line and take some nice confidence into this little off period I've got coming up.”
McDowell, also newly engaged, won’t tee it up again in competition until next season’s PGA TOUR Northern Trust Open at Riviera outside Los Angeles – a 10-week hiatus.
That’s a nice vacation when it’s kicked off with a win, as McDowell noted Tuesday during a media outing for Ecco Golf at his hometown Lake Nona Country Club.
The Northern Ireland native’s first win in two years was also his first win in Ecco shoes, specifically the company’s top-of-the-line Worlds Class GTX, an all-leather shoe that held up well at rain-soaked Sherwood.
“I want a shoe that’s going to complement what I’m wearing but give me a lot of performance and comfort as well,” McDowell said. “I like a golf shoe that I can take out of a box on a Thursday morning and have no trouble putting it in play that day, knowing I’ll walk off and my feet will be fine.”
Don’t look for McDowell to change anything in his bag going into 2013, but he is looking at moving within the Ecco family.
“We’re heading toward this hybrid-spikeless, that’s the way the (golf) world’s evolving. I’m going to be going toward the Tour Hybrid, with some customizing. For me, yes, it’s comfort and stability and performance, but let’s be honest, it’s about how it looks as well.”
It’s also about how many shoes he can take on the road.
“I probably travel with three, four pairs of shoes, and when I go to this Tour Hybrid next year, they’re going to be a little lighter, I might be able to travel with four, five, six pairs of shoes,” McDowell said with a smile. “That’s definitely a benefit of switching.”
The Tour Hybrid will have an MSRP of $190 and come in a variety of colors, all with Ecco’s Street outsole featuring 100 torsion bars for stability and comfort.
STRICKER SWITCH: Golf fans may have rubbed their eyes during the World Challenge when seeing what Steve Stricker wielded on the greens. Stricker used Odyssey White Hot Sabertooth mallet at Sherwood, with its fang-like construction the starkest of contrasts from the White Hot 2 blade which had enjoyed a permanent home in the bag.
Stricker finished 67th in strokes gained-putting in 2012 after ranking second in 2011. He finished eighth in the 18-man World Challenge, 11 shots behind McDowell.
WORKING VACATION: Rickie Fowler broke in a new Cobra arsenal at the World Challenge, including a new orange Amp Cell Pro driver, hybrid and irons, and Trusty Rusty wedges. Ian Poulter had a new silver Cobra Amp Cell fairway wood.
WINNER’S BAG: McDowell at the World
Driver: Cleveland Classic 290 (9 degrees)
Fairway wood: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite FL (15 degrees)
Hybrids: Adams Idea Pro A12 (17 degrees), Adams Idea A7 (22 degrees)
Irons: Srixon Z-TX 2 (4-9)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged (48, 52, 58 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot No. 7
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV prototype
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Charlie Beljan’s incredible win at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic will be long remembered for how he turned a Friday panic attack into a smooth (all things considered) winning weekend, though it was also a pretty darned good exhibition of golf.
Beljan had 22 birdies and two eagles over four rounds at the Palm and Magnolia Courses at Disney, and led the field with an average driving distance of 307.4 yards.
Only Bubba Watson outranks Beljan on the PGA TOUR bombers chart this season, but of course to win those long hitters have to cash in the eye-popping drives. Beljan did that at Disney with help from Cleveland’s newest wedge offerings.
The Cleveland 588 Rotex CB boasts three technical elements designed to maximize spin. Tour Zip u-shaped grooves are 16 percent larger (by volume) than those in previous 588 series wedges, plus laser-milled micro grooves on the face increase friction against the ball. Also, the Rotex milling process that forms semicircular, downward-oriented marks create additional roughness on the face for spin on shorter shots.
Also, a cavity-back design spreads more weight to the perimeter of the club to increase forgiveness on mis-hits.
Beljan had 52-, 56- and 60-degree wedges in the bag at Disney in a satin chrome finish; Cleveland also offers the wedges in black pearl. Many loft and bounce options are available.
NEW LUMBER: With the new year always comes splashy new offerings from equipment companies, and a pair of them showed off new drivers in the past week.
Stewart Cink put a Nike VR_S Covert driver into play at Disney, a cavity-back, adjustable driver with an unforgettable red crown. Cavity-back technology, used to create stability and forgiveness, has long been a staple of iron design and Nike is putting it into drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. The driver can also be adjusted independently for loft and face angle.
The VR_S Covert will be available in a regular model at 460cc and a Tour edition at 430cc. Both will be available in February 2013.
Callaway is expanding its Razr Fit line with the Razr Fit Xtreme driver, featuring a re-engineered, rounder face with material added high in the toe. It’s taller and thinner from sole to crown than previous models.
Like previous models, its super-light carbon composite materials are used in the crown.
Interestingly, Callaway is offering its head sizes based off lofts – the 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree heads are 440cc while the 11.5- and 13-degree heads are 460cc. Callaway research revealed that players with higher-lofted drivers generated more sidespin, so a larger head helps in stability.
Callaway’s new drivers will hit retail in mid-January.
WINNER’S BAG: Charlie Beljan at the
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic:
Driver: Cleveland Classic 290 (Miyazaki B. Asha 5, 9 degrees)
Hybrids: Adams XTD (15 degrees), Srixon Z-TX (20 degrees)
Irons: Cleveland 588 CB (4-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Rotex CB (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron GoLo
Ball: Srixon Z-Star prototype
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – By all accounts, Tom Lehman has had a fine season on the Champions Tour. One win, three seconds, 11 top 10s in 18 starts, and a puncher’s chance at winning a second consecutive Schwab Cup title this week at the season finale, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
But on Tuesday at Desert Mountain, he echoed the lament of many amateur players – the year could have been even better had he been more dialed in with his wedges.
“I haven’t been super sharp inside of 100 yards. I really haven’t,” said Lehman, who trails Bernhard Langer by 211 in the season-long points race. “My wedge game has been off all year. It seems like you kind of get in these streaks where you seem to have all of these in-between yardages. Every big shot you have that you really need to hit it close is just right in between.
“I don't remember a year where I've ever had so many shots that were like 108 yards, or 102 yards or 123 yards into the wind. Where the sand wedge is not quite enough, the pitching wedge is too much. I don't carry a gap wedge. I'm falling into that crack.”
Consequently, Lehman said he’s considering putting a gap wedge into his bag for the first time.
“I'm really good at hitting a 112-yard pitching wedge into the breeze, but I'm not good at hitting 102 pitching wedge into a breeze,” he said. “The sand wedge full into a breeze always spins back 40 feet, so it's like you have this gap where I've just been tortured all year long.”
Of course, to put a gap wedge in requires taking something out. For pros, that means taking a look at fairway woods or hybrids.
“If I took out the rescue (hybrid) and put in the gap, the next week I would be needing that rescue club 27 times,” said Lehman, who plays TaylorMades. “Now I have this gap between my 3-iron and my 3-wood, which is about 50 yards wide versus the gap between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge, which is 20. So there you have the secret.
“To me you have to figure out your bag, bend a couple of clubs a little bit stronger, maybe get a new rescue, which is a little bit weaker. Who knows what? But you got to drop something. Some guys take that out, maybe take the 3-iron out and strengthen the 4-iron. There is all kind of ways to do it. But that means relearning yardages.
“I can tell you, the average golfer, what happens is you get these in between yardages, and you try to hit it so easy you decelerate. You decelerate on a wedge like you decelerate on a putt, and you end up hitting bad shots.”
Have you put an extra wedge in the bag this year? If so, what came out to accommodate it? Tell us in the comments below.
HOT STICK: Robert Garrigus switched to an Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-Line putter two months ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship. In four tournaments since then he has finished T4, T10, T22 and, at the CIMB Classic, T2. This putter is 32.5 inches, a mainstream length for a guy who has putted with a 28.5-inch junior-sizied putter and a 46-inch long flatstick.
NEW NIKES: Nike Golf is expanding its Method line of putters with the Method Core Weighted putters, which use fixed weights on the heel and sole to provide optimal weighting for different lengths of putter. The weights lower the center of gravity of the putter and move the center away from the face.
“Most people don’t realize that they are about three-tenths of an inch above the ground at impact,” Nike clubmaker David Franklin said. “You need to keep the center of gravity of the putter as low as you can so that it never gets higher than the CG of the ball. This stops the putter from driving the ball down and creating backspin on the ball.”
WINNER’S BAG: Nick Watney at the CIMB
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (Mitsubishi Diamana White Board, 10.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15, 19 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (50, 60 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy’s decision to switch equipment -- McIlroy and Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet announced Tuesday they will part ways at the end of this year when McIlroy’s contract expires -- is certainly nothing new.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia are just a handful of big names to have left one company for another in recent years. Nick Faldo did, too.
“I call it dangerous,” Faldo said Tuesday on Golf Channel. “I’ve changed clubs and changed equipment, and every manufacturer will say, ‘We can copy your clubs; we can tweak the golf ball so it fits you.’
“But there’s feel and sound as well, and there’s confidence. You can’t put a real value on that. It’s priceless.”
Just ask Jim Furyk.
Two years ago, Furyk won three times and captured the FedExCup trophy. A little more than a year later, he flirted with falling out of the top 50 in the world. Part of Furyk’s struggles? Tinkering too much with his equipment.
There was also the late Payne Stewart, who left Wilson for Spalding and then endured a season-long slump in 1994, falling sixth on the money list in '93 to 123rd a year later.
“You have to be very, very careful,” Furyk said. “You easily could go off and do this and it messes you up because it just doesn’t quite feel the same. When you’re striping it, it’s fine. But as soon as doubt comes in…
“It was a product of maybe trying to get a little bit longer, maybe trying to find new ways to improve and maybe then hurting my strengths. Trying to make my weaknesses better but in doing so, hurting your strengths, which is rule No. 1. You don’t do that.”
Faldo, a six-time major winner, offered similar advice to McIlroy.
“I’d be very cautious,” Faldo said. “I’d love someone like him, in his position, to sell the bag. That bag is worth a fortune; it’d be on TV all the time. Stick with the clubs that you know best, that you believe the best.
“It’s really important. It’s the feel and confidence of knowing that your equipment will perform how you want it to perform on Sunday afternoon. You can’t mess with that at such a young age.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy will not renew his contract with Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet when the deal expires at the end of this year, the company confirmed Tuesday.
"Our goal has been to provide Rory with the best equipment and service that would help him be the best player he could possibly be,” Acushnet Chief Executive Officer Wally Uihlein said in a statement. “He has been a great ambassador for the Titleist and FootJoy brands, and in turn, we are proud of how our equipment has contributed to his success. We wish Rory all the best, both personally and professionally, going forward."
Said McIlroy: "I would like to thank Wally Uihlein and all of the tour staff and employees at Titleist and FootJoy for everything they have done for me since I turned professional in 2007. I have enjoyed five very exciting and successful years with the company and I will always appreciate the contribution Titleist has made in helping me become the player I am today."
The move fuels speculation that McIlroy will sign with Nike, which has long been rumored by industry insiders, but there has been no confirmation. A Nike spokesman said the company will not comment on rumors.
Should McIlroy, 23, join Nike, it would give the swoosh the game’s two biggest stars with Tiger Woods having long been the face of Nike’s golf brand.
Woods, who had an endorsement deal with Nike and an equipment contract with Titleist when he turned pro in 1996, switched to the Nike golf ball in 2000 and Nike golf clubs in 2002.
McIlroy, meanwhile, moved to No. 1 in the world earlier this year with four wins, including an eight-shot victory at the PGA Championship, giving him two career eight-shot wins in major championships. He also finished atop the PGA TOUR money list this season and has a chance to do the same on the European Tour.
Last year, McIlroy shattered U.S. Open scoring records en route to winning at Congressional. With his victory at Kiawah Island in August, he became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 with two majors. Only five players have won majors by at least eight shots since 1976 -- three by Woods, two by McIlroy.
Woods and McIlroy have also struck up a friendship of late. The two were in the same group five times during the FedExCup Playoffs, and the conversation came easily. That led to an 18-hole exhibition match in China on Monday with McIlroy defeating Woods by one.
Walking off the fourth hole, McIlroy even took one of Woods' Nike clubs and took a few practice swings. Now, it appears likely both will be using the same equipment next year.
The last player of McIlroy’s stature to leave Titleist was Phil Mickelson, who signed a lucrative deal with Callaway during the 2004 season.
For McIlroy, it’s just the latest in a series of changes since winning his first major last year. He left agent Chubby Chandlerand signed with Conor Ridge of Irish-based Horizon Sports Management. He also took up membership on the PGA TOUR.
Still to be determined is how any deal with Nike would affect the rest of McIlroy's deals. He has endorsements with Jumeirah Estates, Oakley, Audemares Piguet and Santander bank. Nike typically prefers a clean look for its athletes, with rare exception. Woods and Anthony Kim had separate endorsements for their golf bags.
McIlroy is not playing the HSBC Champions this week in China. He will close out his European Tour season starting the following week with the Singapore Open, the Hong Kong Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. He would have two months until his next tournament in Abu Dhabi, giving him time to test new equipment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report