The biggest unkept secret in golf is no longer a secret. Rory McIlory is now officially a Nike player.
NIKE’S PRESS RELEASE BELOW
It’s Official: Rory McIlroy Signs with Nike Golf
-McIlroy, the world’s number one, will make his debut as a Nike Athlete at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship-
BEAVERTON, Ore. (January 14, 2013) – Nike Golf today announced at a press conference in Abu Dhabi that Rory McIlroy has signed a multi-year agreement with the company. McIlroy now represents the Swoosh in clubs, ball, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories. He is making his debut as a Nike athlete this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
A self professed sports nut, McIlroy has been a fan of the Nike brand since he was a child and is excited to continue his career with the number one sports brand in the world. “I chose Nike for a number of reasons,” said McIlroy. “It’s a company and a brand that really resonates with me. It’s young. It’s athletic. It’s innovative. They are committed to being the best, as am I. Signing with Nike is another step towards living out my dream.”
“Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere,” said Cindy Davis, President of Nike Golf. “He is the epitome of a Nike Athlete, and he is joining our team during the most exciting time in Nike Golf’s history. We are looking forward to partnering with him to take his remarkable career to the next level.”
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who is known for his length off the tee, will be playing with the world’s first high speed cavity back driver that conforms to USGA and R&A Rules, the Nike VR_S Covert. “The new VR_S Covert driver, is completely different,” said McIlroy. “It’s the first cavity back driver. It’s striking, it looks cool and it performs unbelievably well.”
Rounding out McIlroy’s Nike Golf arsenal are the Nike VR Pro Limited Edition fairway woods, Nike VR Pro Blade irons, Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method prototype putter. McIlroy will play Nike’s new 20XI golf ball featuring more RZN technology. He will wear apparel from the Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection and the new Nike Lunar Control footwear.
In switching to exclusively play and wear Nike Golf products, McIlroy is making his first manufacturer change during his six-year career as a tour professional. “I visited The Oven and I was seriously impressed with both the craftsmanship of the Nike club engineers and also how much R&D and product innovation goes on there,” said McIlroy. “To be honest, I’ve been blown away by the attention to detail when it comes to product. Nike Golf is clearly committed to being the best and that gives me a lot of confidence in what we can achieve together on the golf course.”
McIlroy had a standout year in 2012 with a dominating season filled with becoming the world’s number one, securing five global wins, a Ryder Cup victory for Team Europe and taking countless season titles across the PGA and European PGA Tours. His five global wins in 2012 include his second Major Championship victory (PGA Championship) and two PGA Tour playoff events (Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship). He won the 2012 PGA Championship with the largest margin of victory in the PGA Championship history. McIlroy joins Tiger Woods as the only two active players under the age of 40 with multiple Major wins.
McIlroy also earned the 2012 US PGA Tour Player of the Year award and lead both the PGA Tour and PGA European Tour money lists for 2012. To cap off a sensational season that saw McIlroy post career-highs in earnings and wins, he closed his year with a victory at the DP World Tour Championship and becoming the second youngest athlete to achieve the world’s top spot as number one in the world golf rankings. McIlroy has 10 global career wins on his resume including two Major Championships.
McIlroy’s Nike Golf Arsenal
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert Tour 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree and 5-wood/19-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 54-degree and 60-degree
Putter: Nike Method 006 Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control
On Twitter Nike Golf mentioned a “big” addition to their tour staff would be announced on January 7th. That day was yesterday and the only player announcement I got from them was of the signing of Seung Yul Noh. Most of course, assumed the big announcement was that Rory McIlory would be joining their staff.
Now that I’ve received the official parting press release from Jumeirah Group, announcing the end of their 5-year deal with Rory McIlory (below), I would expect to see the Nike announcement coming shortly. Here’s the Jumeirah press release below:
Just got a press release from Nike about their new prototype shoe which Tiger Woods will be putting into play for the first time this week at the WGC Bridgestone.
NIKE FREE Golf Shoe
I remember a cool band here in town named “Free Beer.” They always used to get big crowds because the bar’s entertainment calendar said “Free Beer” whenever they played. I doubt that the NIKE FREE golf shoe is actually free.
Tiger Woods will be wearing these this week at the WGC Bridgestone. Click for larger version.
The name probably comes from the fact that the shoe “frees” up your feet and legs for a more natural motion and “freedom” of movement.
NIKE Press Release
Check out the whole press release on the new NIKE FREE shoe which Tiger will be wearing this week at the new HOGWire.biz golf PR web site.
I’ve been testing out the new Nike Air Rate golf shoes for a bit. Unknowingly I picked a perfect time to do my review of these babies. Read on to find out why.
Nike Air Rate Golf Shoes - Click image to see more
Nike Air Rate Construction
I have a new pair of training shoes I use when I work out, Nike Air somethings… They’re so light I can hardly believe they’re on my feet. They conform to my feet so well it is like they become one with them. That is exactly the feeling I’ve gotten with my new Nike Air Rate golf shoes. These things are so light I feel like I weigh less with them on than with them off.
Air Rate's Mesh - click to enlarge
The upper of the shoe is one piece of synthetic leather which has a very cool looking mesh pattern. The mesh is precisely carved out of the upper with a laser. The pattern serves more of a purpose than just looking cool. The mesh makes the shoe lighter and provides a ventilation system. I hadn’t read the specs on the shoes before I wore them, and the ventilation was the first thing I noticed. It is about 100 degrees here now, and when a light breeze kicks up I can feel the wind blowing through my shoes. This feels so good, especially for someone who rarely wears shoes and socks because my feet get so hot.
The sole of the Air Rate is a super light “Phylite” material with an “air unit” in the heel. Unlike standard golf shoes which have a leather or hard sole, the Air Rates don’t beat up my feet, my knees and my back. The padding in the sole and air in the heel makes walking the course more doable for me, and more enjoyable. I’m able to play golf and not think about the fact that my knees or feet hurt.
If you are into the traditional golf dress shoe look, these may not be your cup o’ tea. But I really like the look of my Air Rate golf shoes. They’re a little rebellious and a little higher tech looking.
On The Course
The comfort of these babies is off the charts good. Despite the fact that they’re tightly conforming with the shape of my feet, they still feel soft and deliver very low impact when walking the course. Getting beat up by the hard ground is one of the things that sucks about walking, and the Air Rates reduce that greatly.
Despite the fact that these golf shoes don’t have traditional screw in or click in spikes, I have fabulous traction. I hated switching from metal spikes to soft spikes years ago because I slipped all the time. Thanks to the Air Rate’s “Integrated Traction” I have yet to slip once in dozens of holes, hundreds of shots.
As mentioned, perhaps the best part of these shoes is the ventilation. With mid summer temps here around 100 degrees, my feet are as cool as they could be on the course.
The benefit of the ventilation is great, but it is obvious that these shoes are not waterproof. If you are playing in the rain, or plan on stepping into some standing water you may want to use a standard set of waterproof golf shoes. Obviously water can get into the shoe through the ventilation mesh.
The Air Rate comes in two colors: Khaki/White (pictured in this article) and Gridiron/Wolf which is a dark gray with yellow in the mesh.
Nike Air Rate Golf Shoes - click for more
The $110 retail Nike Air Rate golf shoes are excellent, comfortable and very light weight golf shoes. There’s a lot of talk in club shafts and club weighting these days using the “super-light” buzz term. If golf shoes can be classified as super-light, the shoes would be the Nike Air Rates. The ventilation of the shoe is fantastic and refreshing. The comfort level is very high.
The best part of these shoes is the fact that the light weight, ventilation and comfort of doesn’t compromise the performance. In fact, they enhance it.
Hooked On Golf Blog Nike Image Gallery
Anthony Kim's apparel lineup for the U.S. Open - click to see other players scripts
I’m curious to know how many people are interested in this sort of thing. Nike PR has sent out apparel scripts for their players in the field at this week’s U.S. Open. Now you can see what Stewart Cink, Anthony Kim and other Nike players will be wearing in advance. I know I was losing a lot of sleep until I found out what color pants Lucas Glover is going to wear on Sunday’s final round, presuming he makes the cut of course.
The images though, don’t include what type of underwear (boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs or thongs) or what type of socks or shoes they’re wearing. Looks like there will be a lot of players with chafed cabooses and blisters on their feet!