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Rumor: Rory to join Nike? Five reasons it could happen



GolfWRX is member published and that means you can join and share your opinions. Last week a member started a rumor that he heard Rory McIlroy is headed to Nike Golf for 250 million dollars over 10 years. Click here to see that post in the forums.

As the friendship between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods has flourished in recent weeks, so too have the rumors on GolfWRX that McIlroy will join Woods as a Nike Golf athlete next year.

Imagine Woods and McIlroy playing together in the final pairing of The Masters, both sporting Nike swooshes. While the scenario seemed impossible when Woods was the only golfer who enjoyed major media coverage, McIlroy’s dominating performances in the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship have brought him to a level of stardom that only Woods can best.

McIlroy currently has an apparel deal with Oakley and is a brand ambassador for Titleist/Footjoy and Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts — a Dubai-based international luxury hotel chain. But all of these deals were signed before McIlroy vaulted to stardom, which means that he and his management company may be looking to cash in on his increased value.

While it is only a rumor for now, a McIlroy-Nike Golf partnership makes sense for both parties. Here are five reasons why we might see McIlroy make a move to Nike Golf in the near future:

No. 1: Nike Golf needs another top-ranked golfer

Unfortunately for Woods and Nike Golf, it’s not 2008 anymore. Woods is no longer an unrivaled force in golf and his continued injury problems put the length of his legendary career in jeopardy. And while Woods is still easily the most popular golfer on the planet, his scandal has hurt his popularity. More importantly it has also seemed to shake the confidence that earned him 14 major championship titles.

Of Nike Golf’s 12 current PGA Tour athletes, only two players are ranked in the top 50 in the Official Golf World Rankings — Woods (No. 3) and Carl Pettersson (No. 32). You have to go all the way to the No. 110 in the OGWR to find the next top Nike Golf athlete on the PGA Tour, Paul Casey, who has made just two cuts this year. To be fair, Nike also sponsors European Tour members Charl Schwartzel (No. 24), Francesco Molinari (No. 25) and Simon Dyson (No. 48), but they are players are unlikely to impact apparel and equipment sales in the way McIlroy could.

No. 2: Global sports stardom

Name a Titleist-sponsored golfer who has risen to global sports stardom? I’ll wait.

Titleist is seen as an equipment brand for the elite player, a market where the company leads the industry. Few products receive as much buzz on GolfWRX as Scotty Cameron putters and Vokey wedges, and with ProV1 and ProV1X Titleist can also lay claim as the undisputed golf ball champion of the world. But it is not a brand that can lead to global sports stardom, a practice Nike has written the book on.

We love Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott, but he’s no Phil Mickelson. He’s not even Ernie Els. McIlroy has the potential to be bigger than both Mickelson and Els. And while he’ll probably never be Lebron James or Dwayne Wade, with Nike and mentor Woods he can certainly be marketed in a similar way as Nike’s biggest star in tennis, Roger Federer.

No. 3: Commercials

Remember the Nike Golf Anthony Kim 20Xi golf ball commercials? They were beautiful while they lasted.

Kim has fallen off the face of the golf world since winning the 2010 Shell Houston Open. Because of injuries to his elbow, wrist and thumb, the one-time golf phenomenon earned less than $34,000 in 10 events in 2012, and he was forced to go under the knife in July after injuring his achilles tendon while sprinting.

A marketing campaign of Woods and Kim was obviously from the get go — at one time they were two of the most energetic, entertaining athletes in golf. But a Woods-McIlroy TV spot would be even better, and would likely rival the Tiger-Frank commercials that became instant classics. Combine Woods’ pedigree and sense of humor with McIlroy’s youth, honestly and charm and you have a hit, folks.

No. 4: Products that match

Nike Golf markets its tour players as athletes, not golfers. McIlroy’s physique and unbelievable clubhead speed gel perfectly with the company’s image. He’s also a natural fit to be dressed head to toe in Nike Golf’s athlete-minded golf apparel.

As far as golf equipment, McIlroy uses a bag full of clubs that are very similar to what Woods uses. He prefers blade irons, one of Nike Golf’s most highly acclaimed products. Nike Golf also convinced Woods, one of the best putters and wedge players of all time, to switch to its wedges and putter, as well its driver and fairway woods. For the right amount of money Nike could probably convince McIlroy to do the same.

No.5: McIlroy has changed courses before

McIlroy surprised many when he jumped ship from Chubby Chandler’s ISM sports management agency in favor of the Dublin-based Horizon Sport Management group in Nov. 2011. Chandler managed one of McIlroy’s childhood heros, Darren Clarke, as well as friend Lee Westwood, making the decision to leave even tougher on McIlroy. But McIlroy said he felt Chandler was leading him “down the wrong path.”

McIlroy always wanted to play the PGA Tour, but under the guidance of Chandler and Westwood the Northern Irishman did not join the Tour in 2011 and skipped The Players Championship that year in favor of the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain. McIlroy later said that he regretted not joining the PGA Tour and skipping The Players.

There are hurdles to McIlroy migrating from his current sponsors, such as the length of his current contracts, but just like a round of golf can quickly change its course, so too can endorsement deals on the PGA Tour. Consider Rickie Fowler’s move from Titleist to Cobra-Puma last year. Fowler completely altered the direction of the former Acushnet-owned brand, making them a serious player among the major OEMs. McIlroy could take a brand like Nike Golf, a company that started out much like Cobra-Puma in its infancy, and grow it to the level of a company like TaylorMade-Adidas with the help of Woods.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments here, or in the “Tour/Pre-release forum.”

You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz or GolfWRX @GolfWRX.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.



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  2. xorisszdiegr

    Mar 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm


  3. tony

    Mar 8, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I think PHIL got it right when he said “all those years ago”, if Tiger was to play with decent equipment, just think how good he would really be. It will destroy McIlroys game using Nike clubs.

  4. deano

    Jan 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Titleist clubs seem to have worked well for steve stricker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Ron Faldo

    Dec 12, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Team Nike for Rory, Nick Watney…and a few other players to be named later. He will still win with Nike clubs and they will have the most technologically advanced driver on the market in 2013. Schwartzel just demolished Asia with “inferior clubs” that Phil jealous Mickelson is referring to. Watch Nike explode in 2013 with wins all over the PGA Tour…..

  6. schellbomber

    Nov 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    that will be legit if he goes to nike!

  7. calvin

    Oct 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Since when does Woods have a sense of humor?

  8. Eugene

    Oct 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Marc V …where did u here this ..I for one hope it is a done deal!

  9. Marc V.

    Oct 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Wow, don’t some of you look just rediculous! “Rors” (like you say Jordan, are you all his good friends) just announced this morning that he will be signing a deal with NIKE GOLF in the range of the 10 million (according to SportsCenter). Rory wants SO much to be like Tiger Woods, of course he went with Nike. Shame on all of you for thinking you know something about the golf business…. fools.

  10. Steve Wright

    Oct 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I hear that to be true this week, Taylormade offered him a deal over the Olympics when Dustin, Justin and Sergio were hitting balls in the Thames but Nike have blown their deal….rumour is its excess of $30 Million a year

  11. Jordan

    Oct 18, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I love it how some of you are calling Rory “Rors” like you are best friends. Do you guys kick it at his house and talk about future plans and contracts? Hit up the bumper cars? You guys make me laugh. “Rors wouldn’t do that”. Oh..okay? Text him and tell him what we’re saying, k? Haha

    As for the contract goes, that would be awesome. Suck for Titleist. But imagine the marketing Nike could have. Imagine a “RM” forged blade? No, wait, a “Rors” forged blade. Yup. Sold! Haha

  12. Todd

    Oct 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    You can’t keep arguing, and throwing out different reasons why it won’t happen and that it isn’t going to happen. But I GUARANTEE you, he signs with Nike within the next year (probably sooner than later). Got word from our Nike reps in the area where they produce all Nike tour clubs.

  13. Adder

    Oct 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    When Rors was with ISM there was talk that Taylor Made & Nike were in a bidding war to sign Rors. But having resigned with Titleist it wont happen for another 2.5 years at least. So no Rors will not be playing Nike next year.

    • Ron Faldo

      Dec 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      You can eat those words now…..salt, pepper, ketchup?

  14. mike felt

    Sep 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Rory is a fine young man and has made good choices during his young career. I hope he’s not going to change because of the large monies that have ruined all sports today.

  15. JakeAzgolf

    Sep 21, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Nike has way to much money to spend now, after the jersey switch for the NFL also. i wouldnt be surprised if the bought canada and called it Northern Nike!!!!

    • Joel

      Feb 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      As a canadian, and a Nike fan, using nike irons in my bag, and nike shoes on the track, (best track spike in the world barre none) I would be fine with this, so long as they gave me a discount on gear.

  16. Sebastian

    Sep 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    That must be the reason why the Florida resident has broken the 18 Major record…

  17. Jayrock72

    Sep 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Method putters are the finest craftsmanship the putter Market can offer. I’ve had many scottys and now am the happiest I’ve ever been using the method 001. Class

  18. jamrock

    Sep 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I have a been loyal Nike fan for the past 8 years fsince my first set of pro combos. I currently play the vr pro limited, Dymo 3 wood and Vr pro ltd 5 wood with VR forged irons and wedges.To each his own but how can you have an educated opnion on something if you have never tried it.

    I also saw comments on “Chasing the Money”. I would like to know what they would do if someone offered you 3 or 4 times their salary to try something diffrerent? Say no. I am not working for money. These make their living playing golf and have to make the best financial decision for them.

    JUST ENJOY THE RIDE!! The equipment with he top brands offer the same quality

  19. Sean

    Sep 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    In regards to the people thinking that Nike golf equipment is garbage, Nike has 2 of the top 3 forgers in the world. Number one being of course Mr Miura. David Franklin is a close second, but has nowhere near the publicity Miura has gotten, given Miura created his own business.

  20. Sean

    Sep 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I agree with this article, titliest has not sponsored athletes or golfers for that matter that has even come close to the level of global stardom that Nike has produced for its athletes. For example, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, Bo Jackson, Lance Armstrong, Etc
    Titliest?…….Mind still draws a blank. Plus Titliest has no where close to the kind of money Nike is willing pay its athletes. If the rumor of 250 million for 10 years is correct for Rory, he would be stupid not to say yes.

  21. Tyson

    Sep 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    If you ACTUALLY think Tiger uses anything but Nike clubs (i.e. cloned titty or mizzy clubs) then you haven’t a clue. I’ve even heard people say his putter isn’t a method, its a painted scotty. LOL you guys are clowns.

  22. Sebastian

    Sep 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    He must have been two years old at that time…

  23. Adam

    Sep 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    It’s no secret that Rory tried to get a contract with Nike before he was good and they turned him down.

  24. Zach

    Sep 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    In regards to number 4 and Nike convincing Tiger to use their wedges and putter. Im not one to think equipment makes people better or worse its more swing and technique but Tiger use to be the best putter, mayb ever, and one of the best wedge players, after switching to nike garbage, his putter and wedge game has been aweful. most likely whats keeping him from playing Tiger like golf. The method putter is better for slow greens and long, slow strokes which is obvious by Tigers lack of making putts. His firm stroke and aggressive speed dont match up with the method putter. When it comes to wedges and putters Scotty and Vokey are the best,

  25. chazz

    Sep 15, 2012 at 2:48 am

    I have to agree with Andrew, Nike clubs have come a long way and after playing with a few, i wouldn’t mind putting them in play. Honestly, Nike started off with such a bad reputation among lower handicap players that people still assume Nike clubs are garbage. Just because Nike invests more than the next brand in marketing their equipment does not automatically mean they lack in performance.

  26. Sebastian

    Sep 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Andrew, I did not intend to say that Titleist clubs are for everybody. My old 681’s have been with me since I was 15 and I still can find a chik hotter than them (not to mention my fellow club members). I do find enlightning your post. It quite confirms my point.

  27. Andrew

    Sep 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Sebastian…you obviously must be an expert in everything. I am a 2 handicap player and play with nike forged irons as well as the VR 3 wood. I play Ping Anser Driver. The feel on the irons are completely different. I’ve played Titleist 690’s and also AP1’s…Nike are just as forgiving and make me a better golfer.
    Maybe you should play a few rounds before you blow your wad on something you clearly don’t understand.

    Rory is a phenominal talent and should stick to his roots. If he wants to get paid for it, why not? He’s clearly the next generation of greatness for the world of golf.

  28. Sebastian

    Sep 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    No, Chazz. I quite agree with you.

    I just intended to make a point on what I consider to be important in deciding which clubs I play (i.e. performance, performance, performance) and what I just consider rubbish (i.e. advertising and endorsements).


  29. gmacguy

    Sep 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    It would be a smart move for Nike to sign up Rory. After all, they have Kobe and Lebron on the same ticket. Nike would love to stick it to Oakley too. Adidas/TM may be a player in this game. Notice who his girlfriend plays for. Maybe Nike should sign up both!

  30. Sebastian

    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:56 am

    C’mon! TW uses a cloned Titleist set (with the Nike stamp, of course, BUT they are still a cloned Titleist set) and his fortune with the money-maker club has gone anywhere south since he stoped using his long-mate Scotty’s newport 2…
    In the past, Tiger dominated the game because of his putting and, ABOVE ALL, because of the aura of superiority he used to take to the course (both of them, have been long lost in the mists of time…). All in all, I don’t know a single golfer with a one-digit handicap that would spend a dollar on Nike clubs (or balls), even if TW, Rors, the Queen of England, his mom and mistress, all together, would ask him to give them a try…

    • Ron Faldo

      Dec 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Arizona teaching professional, all Nike in my bag, strong 3 handicap and they are as good as anything on the market. Only thing that has come close is my Ben Hogan Apex blades, ’99 edition. Of course shaft changes on the woods and 2 iron. Nike started out rough but has the cash in excess to be the top club manufacturer if they wanted to….best driver of 2013… Nike Covert. Shwartzel just destroyed Asia with all Nike clubs…..

  31. chazz

    Sep 13, 2012 at 5:13 am

    and Kenny Perry?? seriously?

  32. chazz

    Sep 13, 2012 at 5:12 am

    seriously, all this talk about Rory not performing well with nike clubs is garbage. Obviously these guys can get whatever they want and are not using the same clubs you and I buy off the rack. I’m not a Nike fanboy or even a Tiger fanboy, but how many tournaments and majors has Tiger won using Nike equipment?? and the inconsistency in his game right now is obviously not the equipment. Even Phil switched and is still winning. You can’t bring guys like camillo and graeme in the same conversation because they dont have the same talent as Rory. There are tons of other factors you have to consider when a player switches brands and fails to live up to expectations….think about it, money perhaps?? you just land a huge million dollar contract and just maybe you get complacent. is that possible?? yes. This might even be a better explanation rather than the “blame it on the equipment.” and it might be a huge factor as to why global elite players continue to do well and others do not. Their pure passion for the game and their determination to be the best. And does Rory possess these qualities?? I think yes.

  33. bravesgolf

    Sep 13, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Hey John. Thanks, I used to follow the Atlanta braves a while back (not as much now) so it’s a name I’ve used for forums and ebay for quite some time now. I guess I was just thinking that non golfers (no matter the country) would more than likely know Tiger Woods more than any other golfer (possibly more than any other athlete). That’s what I took from the article as meaning global star. I think lot’s of golf fans from all around the world would know the top USPGA golfers (NW, JD, BH and WS are all at the top of course) but if you asked non golfers as well, I think Tiger Woods would be one of the very few (if not the only one) that people would recognise. Having said all of that, GO PHIL (from Australia!) for the Fedex cup!

  34. pooch

    Sep 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Worst idea in the world is to change clubs after you’ve won several majors. I remember Kenny Perry warning all young players “chasing money isn’t worth losing your game”

  35. memphisunited

    Sep 12, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Switching equipment companies hasn’t seemed to work very well for most players lately. Graeme McDowell switched after the US Open and he didn’t have much success afterward. I think Rory should take note before making a jump. It may come down to legacy or quick cash…which one does he want?

  36. Sebastian

    Sep 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Nike manufactures cheap clubs for sunday golfers (alleged “1 digit handicapers” who would not break 90 if they would play in greens other than those parking lot-size greens they are used to play). Nike could very well use McIlroy or Woods to market its products, but they will remain cheap OTC products that, at best, last barely more than a summer affair…

  37. Big O Rick

    Sep 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I bet Tiger would give anything to be putting with a Scotty Cameron right now. Putting is about the only thing that hasn’t come back for him. I may be crazy but I just see Rors being a little more loyal a kid and not as much a money grubber. That set up seems to be working just fine fo him now and I am sure Titeleist will make it worth his while to keep their name on his bag.

  38. Ryan

    Sep 11, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Why would you have the best year of your career and jump ship to, as Phil called it, “inferior equipment.” Where did this story come from, ESPN?

  39. Underpar

    Sep 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I just wanna say that people that think nike dosent care as much for its golf division last year they have injected more money in the driver that callaway as put in there full line of club so for sure nike as the money ans they will sign rory if they think its worth it. And by the way nike blades are the best blade on tour right now you just have to try it to know it( if you are a good golfer for sure)

    Nice article zak!

  40. Chico

    Sep 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Rory and Tiger = Nike a major player in the golf industry!

  41. Stephen

    Sep 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Rory with Nike Golf=$$$$$ for Nike Golf.

  42. Tyler

    Sep 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

    If Rory has any aspirations of beating Jack’s (or possibly Tiger’s) record for major championships, he’d better stick with a golf equipment company that just does golf equipment. My guess is that Nike could care less about their golf division. I’m sure they make 5x more money on soccer equipment than golf equipment and not to mention they have to pay a huge chunk to Tiger. I think if Rory goes to Nike we’ll know he’s lost sight of beating Jack’s record and is more focused on money. That will be a sad day!

  43. cyrus681

    Sep 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Although I agree with some of your personal theorem, it still has plenty of holes. For #1- #3, the spending prowess of Nike is unmatched at a level that none of Rory’s current endorsers can see or sniff…their company ideology is different. Just like the Yankees organization, Nike will pursue a candidate that will best promote their brand. Rory is the hands-down chosen one. TMAG and NIKE will always have that battle, which Nike seems to win a majority of the time…biggest example was the big Wie-zer. In hindsight the ROI isn’t enough to break even…if only her parents would let go.

    As far as Tiger having to share the throne with Nike, it’s too easy to forget the Tiger-Duval era, because people dwell on David’s fall from immortality. Tiger has shown that he enjoys the friendly rivalry, and he tends to protect players within his inner circle. You cannot look past the benefits of a Tiger mentorship for Rory. I believe Rory can do perfectly fine co-existing with the media, as he has a different personality than Woods. , but there is so much he could benefit from the business perspective. Nike has written the book in marketing athletes, and is a perfect conduit for any player to be idolized in a legendary stature. G-Mac can give advise him all he wants but he’s never been at the Tiger level…the only best advice he can provide is that Rory stay true to himself…which I hope he does.

    Asia IS the new world golf platform. Nike is a US firm, but it holds a large stake in Asia for promoting “athletes” and their gear, especially in Basketball. It may not hold a large piece of the market share in golf equipment, but with a Rory and Tiger tandem, they can gain tremendous respectability in Asia…and THAT is one reason they can afford to invest a large amount in swaying Rory to the “dark side”.

  44. GN

    Sep 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Re: 5 why it won’t happen
    I think you assume too much. Nike is one of the best marketing companies the world has ever seen. Their calendar is projected out at least 10 years from now. Not present tense or…….when was Tiger’s last major?

    That’s the difference between Rory and someone like you. You’ll see Rory as the new Tiger after he wins a couple more majors, but to do what Rory has already done, I’m betting Rory has been believing that he’s the best for over five years now. I’d wager that Rory doesn’t think or believe he is second fiddle to Tiger or anyone else. He is kicking Tiger’s butt on a regular basis now. Yeah they’re buds, so Rors maybe thinks, ‘if this old cat wants to lay and go down peacefully so be it. I’ll just kick his @%% with a smile on my face like I do everyone else.” Rory is classy guy opposite his new pal. Facebook it people the Tiger era is coming to a end. That’s great, time to move on, the future is bright.

  45. Yeti

    Sep 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    And I’ll give you 5 reasons why it won’t happen.
    1) TIGER – just because they have exceled in a few rounds played together and appear to be friends – Tiger does not want anyone and I mean anyone encrouching on his turf. At Nike its Tiger and then all the B list stars. Tiger does not want that to change for oh say the next 10 years. And Nike does not want to rock the boat with Tiger – they know he is and will remain the face of its golf dept for many years to come – hence sticking with him through the scandal.
    2) Rory – Rory wants to be the big fish thats why he changed agents and its why he won’t go to Nike – in Oregon and at the Oven he will always be second fiddle to Tiger and thats not gonna change until he wins another 4 or 5 majors or Tiger falls out of the top 10 golfers in the world. Rory is #1 at Titleist and would be #2 at Nike – I don’t think the kid wants to be #2 anywhere – not on a leaderboard or in the world rankings and not at a golf company.
    3) Contracts – Rory hasn’t changed any of his major sponsors since moving to Horizon – why? He is under contract with everyone (Titleist, Dubai, Oakley) and Nike would have to out pay collectively for all of Rory’s sponsorship space since Nike does not allow its athletes to sport any other logos (bags not included). Thats gonna be expensive and the golf market is too small for Nike to pump $$ into marketing both Tiger and Rory – something would have to give.
    4) Rory has been playing fantastic golf for the last couple of seasons so why mess with success on the course. Sure he’s made changes outside the ropes – but he hasn’t changed a thing when it comes to playing the game. Equipment is the same, caddie is the same, swing coach is the same. There’s a long list of guys who switched gear only to struggle to regain form – all Rory has to do is ask his buddy GMac about that.
    5) The furture for Rory is in Asia – unlike for Jack and Arnold there will be no money to be made for Rory in buidling golf courses. His long term earning potential lies in marketing goods and services – particularily in the worlds growing markets in Asia. And guess where Titleist’s parent company Fila is located? Thats right Asia – Korea to be exact. Sure Nike has a presence there but it is and always will be a US firm.

  46. john

    Sep 9, 2012 at 2:24 am

    bravesgolf i like the name. but as to the descussion we are both right. while simpson, hass, duffner may not be well known by people in the nfl comunity or nba. or for even that manner they may not be house hold names. but who really is. there are several pro athealetes that are not “house hold” but Global is diffrent. and on this i can speak. I live in japan and play golf with japanese people who do know these names. and many of these people can name more golfers than any other popular u.s. sports stars. so its all in how catigorize it.

  47. MarltonPro

    Sep 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Agree with Tiger pairing ,and molding him to follow in Tiger’s footsteps with Nike, and help from the greatest this era whether you like him or not would literally make him explode….EVERYWHERE. It would do massive amounts for his “marketability” (made that word up) and pockets world wide. Nike is recognized all over the world, and I’m sure a huge percentage of people think tiger when they think Nike. I’m sorry, and love titleist, not one Nike piece of equipment in my bag (def some apparel), and I love acushnet, but they could never match what Nike could do for Rory if it comes down to dollars in cents. This is all just my opinion, but Zak (writer) makes sense, and I actually hope for his sake and amount of talent he does it. Ask ten random people if they know Rory. Do the same with tiger…(even before the off-course contraversy). Then do it again 2-3 years from now after being with Nike. Best for Rory. And yes, it’s about money, and not one person would turn down redicilous amounts of loot, or strippers…..;)jk

    *He and tiger work well together
    *Nice piece Zak

  48. bravesgolf

    Sep 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Zac is talking about global stardom, not golf stardom. I can’t stand Tiger Woods but he is a global star. My wife knows nothing about golf but she knows who Tiger Woods is. She wouldn’t have a clue who Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Jason Dufner or Bill Haas are. C’mon John, they are top players on the PGA tour, but global stars, give me a break!

  49. Surlyn

    Sep 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I think you’re onto something here. Rory is too big to be repping a hotel chain in Dubai.

  50. Trey

    Sep 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I like Rory in Titleist more.

  51. bob

    Sep 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    ^ You sound very intelligent. Not.

  52. Chris

    Sep 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Really good article, I love how people post comments that try to make themselves look better – get over it.

    The author mentioned CS being ranked number 24 you clown.

  53. AC McGaha

    Sep 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Yeah, that was a great move for Duval…oh, wait…

  54. john

    Sep 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

    “Name a Titleist-sponsored golfer who has risen to global sports stardom? I’ll wait.”

    Tiger woods started as a Titleist player.
    Phil Mickelson played for titleist
    Ricky Fowler was titleist you mentioned it your self.
    Bill hass
    webb simpson
    nick watney all titleist players
    jason duffner as well.

    Look at ricky’s new clubs how much do you think Cobra payed to use a titleist iron with cobra stamped on it

    Tiger changed putters mostlikly becouse of his contract and is fall in stock value. i bet if nike didn’t pressure him he would still be using a scotty.

  55. Mark

    Sep 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    “Nike Golf markets its tour players as athletes, not golfers”. Look at Carl Pettersson, he is the picture of athleticism.

  56. Glenn Racz

    Sep 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I believe Charl Schwartzel is a head to toe Nike player and is ranked 24th in the OWGR

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play



The second World Golf Championship of the year begins this week for what will be the final stop before The Masters for the majority of players in the field. As always with WGC events, the field is stacked — only Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose are missing from the world’s top-10. With an earlier start than usual, 16 groups of four will battle it out in a round-robin format starting Wednesday. The winner of each group will advance to the last 16, which will complete in a straight knockout format from there on in.

Austin Country Club has held the event since 2016, and it’s been a course that has offered up lots of excitement so far. Expect more of the same this week, with four reachable Par 5s on offer as well as a drivable Par-4. The Par-71 course is a modest 7,043 yards with plenty of elevation changes and a mix of tight, tree-lined fairways on the opening nine. The fairways on the back 9 are more generous. Some of the key stats that I’m focusing on this week include Par-5 Scoring, Proximity to the Hole Inside 125 yards and Birdie or Better Percentage, which is always important in match play. Last year, a red-hot Dustin Johnson beat Jon Rahm in the final 1 up, which was his third-consecutive victory at the time.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Rory McIlroy 7/1
  • Dustin Johnson 8/1
  • Justin Thomas 10/1
  • Jon Rahm 12/1
  • Jason Day 14/1
  • Jordan Spieth 20/1
  • Phil Mickelson 20/1

For me, this is the most difficult event on the calendar to predict. Over 18 holes, any player in the field is capable of beating anyone else. We saw just that last year when Hideto Tanihara defeated Jordan Spieth 4&2 and Soren Kjeldsen took down Rory Mcilroy 2&1. For that reason, it’s certainly an event that I’d advise to play conservatively, especially before we reach the knockout phase. Despite the unpredictability of some of the results, however, recently it’s been an event that has been won by the world’s elite. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day (twice) have claimed the title in the past four years.

From the top of the board, it’s multiple champion Jason Day (14/1, DK Price $9,200) who gets my vote. The Australian has played a limited schedule so far this year, and he seems to be flying under the radar for the year’s first major. I find the lack of attention surprising. He has a win and a second-place finish to his name already in only three starts this year. Last week at Bay Hill he finished T22, where he appeared a little rusty on the opening couple of days before shaking it off and shooting an impressive 67 on Saturday.

Austin Country Club is a course that undoubtedly suits Day. He dominated the event in 2016 when he was playing his absolute best golf, and he was very unfortunate that he was unable to defend last year on account of his mother’s health. It was an issue that appeared to effect his entire season, but there is no doubt that the signs are very good for Day in regards to 2018. Mainly, because he has the magic touch back with the putter. In 2016, he had one of the greatest putting years of recent times, and albeit early on in the season, he is currently on course to match it. Day leads the field in putting for the season by a decent margin, and on the slick bermuda greens of Austin Country Clubs, where he has memories of holing just about everything two years ago, it could play a huge factor yet again this week.

Along with the Queenslander’s fabulous form on the greens, Day is dominating the Par 5’s, where he sits second in the field over his last 12 rounds. Day loves to play aggressive golf, and it’s one of the reasons the match play format suits him so much. The odd blow-up hole is not the disaster that it would be in stroke play, and he has the ability to rack up birdies fast. So far this season, Day is third in this field for birdie or better percentage.

Day will be the favorite to advance from Group 8, which contains James Hahn, Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Dufner, but the unpredictability of the match play format means it will be far from easy. Should he do so, however, he may be an extremely difficult man to stop, and 14/1 is not a bad price on him repeating his heroics of 2016.

Patrick Reed’s (30/1, DK Price $7,700) return to form has been long overdue. With back-to-back weeks finishing in the top-10, he should be feeling confident in a format that in the past he has blown hot and cold in. Despite his colossus performances in the Ryder Cup, the WGC-Matchplay has been a frustrating event for the Texan. He has yet to make it past the Round of 16, but he seems to be rejuvenated by the return of his idol, Tiger Woods, to the PGA Tour. We’ve seen a far more aggressive Patrick Reed as of late.

With the top seed in his group being Jordan Spieth, there’s speculation that their matchup could be a fiery one. Last week, Patrick Reed was recorded saying that he guessed he needed to be Jordan Spieth to get a free drop after he was left fuming by a ruling. Personally, I don’t think there will be any hostility from either player, but perhaps the attention it has received over the last day will fire up Reed, who seems to produce his best when in the spotlight.

All facets of Reed’s game are firing at the moment. He is fourth in this field for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Strokes Gained Around the Green and Strokes Gained Total over his last eight rounds. Not withstanding the volatility of 18-hole matchups, there is a sense that Spieth may be a little vulnerable right now. Reed will be relishing the opportunity to take him on in what could possibly be an important Game 3. At 30/1, there is a confidence about Reed at the moment that I like, and it could see him finally deliver in a format that he has adapted to so well in The Ryder Cup.

The star name in Group 7 is the current Masters Champion Sergio Garcia, but I’m willing to take him on this week with Xander Schauffele (66/1, DK Price $7,400). The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been playing well as of late with three-consecutive top-20 finishes. From that period, he scores well in the key statistics, which should bode well for him this week. The Californian is 10th for Strokes Gained on Par 5s for his last 12 rounds, and on a course where wedge play is vitally important, his short irons seem to be in excellent shape. Over the same period, Schauffele is 15th in the field for Proximity to the Hole from 100-125 yards and 16th from 75-100 yards.

He will have to overcome Garcia, as well as Shubhankar Sharma and Dylan Frittelli to advance to the next phase. Garcia has never looked comfortable at Austin Country Club, however, and I think Schauffele may be the best option to pounce on any weakness he shows. Schauffele does not rank outside 30th in this field for his last 12 rounds in any major statistic, and he is eighth overall for Strokes Gained Total.

Last but not least is Webb Simpson (100/1, DK Price $7,800), who is in Group 15 alongside Pat Perez, Gary Woodland and Si-Woo Kim. I think it’s fair to say that this looks to be one of the most unpredictable of the lot. Yet at 100/1, it was an easy enough decision to add Simpson to my stable this week, who just like Xander is performing well in the key statistics.

The former U.S. Open Champion is 17th in this field over his past 12 rounds on Par 5s, but it’s been his wedge play that really got my attention. Over the same period, Simpson ranks seventh for proximity to the hole from 100-125 yards and 15th from 75-100 yards. Some other good signs for Simplson include his putting, as he currently sits 11th for the season in Strokes Gained Putting. His scoring average for the season is also an impressive 69.5, which is seventh on the PGA Tour. At 100/1, it seems worth a small investment in what I’m expecting to be another roller coaster of an event with plenty of surprises.

Recommended Plays

  • Jason Day 14/1, DK Price $9,200
  • Patrick Reed 30/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Xander Schauffele 66/1, DK Price $7,400
  • Webb Simpson 100/1, DK Price $7,800
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Opinion & Analysis

Paige Spiranac explains her decision to pose for the 2018 SI Swimsuit



During the PXG 0311 Gen2 iron launch event, I caught up with Paige Spiranac to talk about a variety of topics including her advice to young girls in the golf world, how her life has changed since becoming a golfing celebrity, her relationship with PXG, her decision to stop playing professional golf, and she explains why she wanted to pose for the SI Swimsuit issue.

Enjoy my interview above!

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview With 36 Golf Co.



Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email for consideration. This interview is with Jay Vogler of 36 Golf Co (Pictured above caddying for business partner Chevy Mayne).

Talk to me about 36 Golf Co. What are you guys all about?

We’re all about getting people out to the course, having fun and not taking golf too seriously. We’re trying to create a brand for people who love the game, but aren’t necessarily trying to turn pro. The whole idea started when I was walking through a hockey shop and saw all these hockey lifestyle brands and I was like, “Why doesn’t this exist in golf?” We’re mainly targeting the 18-35 crowd; folks that kind of have a laid-back approach. We think it doesn’t matter if you wear cargo shorts and a T-shirt as long as you’re respecting the game and taking care of the course. It’s more important to replace your divots, repair your ball marks and keep up with the pace of play than it is to wear a collared shirt.

There are a lot of people launching brands in the soft goods world these days (clothing, towels, head covers, etc.). As a result, that world can be a little crowded. What makes 36 Golf Co. different from everyone else out there?

Our corner of the market, if you will, is trying to create a community of people who see the game the same way we do. We want to see the game grow, especially among the millennial age group. We think participation is lacking in that demographic, and we want to play a part in making the game a little more accessible for them. We want people to connect over our attitude toward golf. If you see a guy walking down the street wearing a 36 hat, we want you to think he’s approachable and he’s down to hang out and talk about golf and life without being pretentious. We’re out there to lower some of the barriers to entering the game.

Since I know you’re all about growing the game, what do you think it needs? What do you think is the biggest “problem” with golf that’s keeping people away from playing it or trying it?

I think perception is probably the biggest thing honestly. I picked up the game five years ago when I was 22 and I came from skateboarding and snowboarding. When I got into the game, a lot of people make a weird face and were like, “You play golf?!” It’s totally a perception thing, but once you get past that, it’s just such a fun game. From the first time I flushed a 7-iron at a driving range, I was hooked, but a lot of people don’t even get that far. We’re just trying to lower the barriers to the game and put a community out there.

36 Golf Co. “The Looper” Meshback Hat

If you could change one thing about the game of golf, what would you change? It doesn’t have to be something in the USGA rule book necessarily.

Obviously, I would get rid of dress codes. That’s my big bugaboo with the game. If I was just going about my daily life, I wouldn’t be wearing pants and a collared shirt and I think a lot of people would be in that same boat. If we let people come as they are, I bet participation would go way up. Appearance, respectfully, only matters so much. You can wear a collared shirt and still be a jerk and not repair your ball marks.

When you got the idea to start this company, how did you actually go about making that happen? Did you just google shirt suppliers or something? What was that process like?

Yeah, I pretty much spent the first month on Google looking for suppliers. I have a design background, so we did the design and the website ourselves, so that was good. Finding the right suppliers who were willing to work with us and had quality stuff was difficult.

What’s the biggest road block you’ve experienced with 36 Golf Co.? Launching it, marketing it, logistics, billing, whatever…

Starting a business in general was just…so much to take in. It’s overwhelming. Accounting, problems with suppliers… but if you don’t just start it then you’ll never know. I know it’s a cliché, but you gotta start somewhere. It’s not that any one thing was so difficult. It was just the amount of things that come your way.

36 Golf Co “The Sniper” Snap Back Hat and “Fleck” T Shirt

What are you most optimistic about with 36 Golf Co? What’s got you excited these days?

We just went to a show this past weekend in Toronto, and we just met a lot of people who really seemed to get what we were about and were excited to be a part of it themselves. That’s what gets you excited; when people really understand your vibe and want to be a part of that community and rep your brand for no other reason than it resonates with them. That’s what it’s all about.

Let’s play a game. Imagine golf was like baseball and you got to pick a “walk-up song” when you got to the first tee. What song are you going with?

Haha. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jurassic 5 lately, so we’ll go with “What’s Golden.” I feel like that’d be a pretty good hype song.

If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, which one would it be? It has to be a course you have played before or have access to, though. Don’t just say Augusta.

There’s a little course called Bathurst Glen just north of Toronto. I used to work there, but it kicks my butt every time I go. It’s a friendly spot, which I enjoy. I struggle playing really nice golf courses. They kind of stress me out.

Chevy Mayne of 36 Golf Co. in the “OG” T Shirt and “Frost Delay” Snapback Hat

It’s kind of old news, but I’ll ask the following since it’s right up your alley. What was your take on the LPGA dress code announcement last year?

Oh man. I was like, “What the hell are you thinking?” You know, when they said that I was showing it to my girlfriend who’s a non-golfer and she was like, “I don’t understand what the problem is.” It’s not like they’re wearing thongs or something. Obviously, I think that golf needs to be tailored to welcome people into the game, and I think that sent the wrong message.

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Let us know what’s coming from 36 Golf Co.

We have limited resourced with just two people, but we have tons of plans. Our main products right now are our hats, which are mainly modern styles. You know, snapbacks and flat brims. We also have T-shirts and quarter zips available. All of that is on our website at We will be getting some golf shirts in soon, which we are calling our “collared T-shirt” this spring, so that’s going to be the most exciting launch for us in the near future. Follow us on Instagram @thirty6ix_golf_co and on twitter @Thirty6ix_golf to keep up with our brand and join our community.

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19th Hole