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Nike signs McIlroy to a multi-year deal

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Nike has signed Rory McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, to a multi-year contract to use the company’s golf equipment and wear its apparel, hat, glove, footwear and accessories.

The announcement cames from a Nike media event at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where McIlroy will make his tournament debut as a Nike athlete. Here is the equipment McIlroy will use the following equipment this week:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert Tour (10.5-degree, neutral setting) with Mitsubishi Diamana prototype 70X shaft
Fairway Woods: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15 and 19 degrees)
Long Irons: VR Pro II Blades (3 iron through PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (54 and 60 degrees)
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Putter: Nike Method 006 Prototype
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum.

rory witb nike

Although the specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, a source close to negotiations for McIlroy said his multi-year contract is worth at least $20 to $25 million per year. Speculation has been rampant that McIlroy would join Nike following his joint announcement with Titleist that he and the company would part ways on Dec. 31, 2012. Additionally, the Jumeriah Hotel Group, whose logo was prominently featured on the North Irishman’s hat, announced that it ended its endorsement deal with McIlroy on Jan. 8.

McIlroy said he’s been practicing with his new Nike gear since before Christmas, and was “blown away” with the research and development that goes into Nike golf equipment. He said the new Nike Covert Tour driver is “awesome,” and that he’s picked up distance with the new driver, increasing his ball speed from the mid 170s to 180 mph.

As expected, McIlroy will change to a Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3 wood and 5 wood, Nike VR Pro irons and wedges. What was not expected was that McIlroy will use one of the company’s Method putters, a prototype 006 model.

“I was blown away by the groove technology,” McIlroy said. “I’m very happy with the new putter.”

McIlroy also said that he was impressed with the company’s 20XI X golf ball, which features a resin core that McIlroy said makes the ball extremely stable in the wind.

Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, who led the media event, said the signing of McIlroy is one of the most excited times at Nike since the company committed to the golf business with the signing of Tiger Woods.

“Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere,” Davis said. “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.”

At the event, McIlroy emerged from a light show that showed projections of himself and walked down a long runway to hug Davis. He stood by his golf bag in a Nike hat, golf shirt, pullover, shoes and a pair of blue jeans as photographer’s snapped photos. McIlroy then took questions from Davis, as well as from media members who were in attendance. Davis and McIlroy refused to comment on specifics of the deal, and McIlroy would not say if the deal mandated that he used one of the company’s putters.

During the Q&A session, Nike athletes Wayne Rooney (soccer — Manchester United), Roger Federer (tennis) and Tiger Woods welcomed McIlroy to the team with a video message. Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight also welcomed McIlroy to the team.

Below is the video as well as photos from the commercial, “No Cup is Safe,” which was previewed at the event.

[youtube id=”2NCDYjHtEcU” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Tiger and RoryNike golf commercial

McIlroy is biggest of Nike Golf’s five signings in 2013, which include Nick Watney, Kyle Stanley, Thorbjorn Olesen and Seung Yul Noh. Below is a breakdown of their age, countries and Official World Golf Ranking as of Jan. 13, 2013. All the golfers are currently ranked in the top-100 in the OWGR and have an average age below 25.

Rory McIlroy

  • Age: 23
  • Country: Northern Ireland
  • OWGR: 1

Nick Watney

  • Age: 31
  • Country: United States
  • OWGR: 21

Thorbjorn Olesen

  • Age: 23
  • Country: Denmark
  • OWGR: 51

Kyle Stanley

  • Age: 25
  • Country: United States
  • OWGR: 80

Seung Yul Noh

  • Age: 21
  • Country: South Korea
  • OWGR: 99

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Rich

    Jan 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Well guys, we all waited for the Rory and Tiger show…… I counted a handful of good shots between them and witnessed some of the poorest drives in tournament golf. A disappointing advert for Nike, although Olesen looks comfortable with his change.

  2. Phil

    Jan 17, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Titleist and oakley must be having a good laugh after the 1st round in Dubai.

  3. Lee

    Jan 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I agree the ball will be the biggest challenge but then again certain Companies are not adverse to blowing over the logo’s on the Pro V and putting their own branding in place. In fact it’s often done with irons/wedges as well.

  4. chad

    Jan 16, 2013 at 1:18 am

    This is ALL MARKETING people. He hasn’t hit a shot yet. McIlroy will have to make adjustments to the new equipment but he’s #1 in the world for a reason, so he’ll be fine. Anyone can adjust to a new driver. We all buy a new one every year or two. Blades are blades they’re all pretty similar. The challenge will be the ball. Most pro’s play Titleist ProV’s for a legit reason- they are the classic that they are all used to. That will be the challenge for Rory. But there is no one best equipment company. Golf is all about personal preference and what suits the eye/feel.

  5. ned

    Jan 16, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Blades are blades- Visually is the only real difference- I rotate 5 sets, with slightly different setups, loft lie, bounce, SW, length, and flex- all spined with different grips. 681’s, with TourX, Staff FG51 tour issue, Maxfli Aussie blk dot, Mp 29’s & 14s w 6.5 & XL100, 695mb Tx1s, and occasionally CG1’s XL100 pga pros.
    Also play 7.0 1025 VIP, and TP Rac Smoke 6.5s, and 680’s dg100-
    The 681 and Fg 51’s, have the best feel- and the Nike Tiger Limited editions are a close third- Rory can handle any blade they throw at him. The Sumo 2 Fw are excellent, almost as long as the r7 tp ts, with better accuracy! FWIW.

  6. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The big question now will be how Rory plays with Nike over 2013. It is a big gamble by Rory changing over from clubs he plays so well.

    It’s amazing to read he says he has already picked up more distance, that’s scary for the rest of world golf.

    There’s going to be a lot of spotlight on every shot he plays this year so I hope the adjustment goes smoothly. He’s such a level headed young man I’m sure the transaction will go fantastic.

    Can’t wait to see him play in 2013!

  7. Spencer

    Jan 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    new VR Pro II Blades??

  8. BizMark

    Jan 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Rory’s equipment change was bound to happen. Both Tiger and Sergio played Titleist clubs in the beginning of their professional careers. Eventually as they got big, Tiger switched to Nike’s and Sergio switched to Taylormade’s. I would argue that Rory’s the same case. The Mcilroy brand is largely expendable and needs to meet a company that matches. Nike is a giant in the marketing world and has the power to make him a not just a golf icon, but a “sports” icon.
    In my opinion, the other reason is actually the equipment. Nike has recently been putting out innovative and quality-made equipment, such as the VRS Covert woods and the Pro Combo irons. The driver/fairway wood’s cavity back design is very creative, and modifying the old combo set resulted in a very sleek successor (especially in the mid-long irons).
    With the company also acquiring Kyle Stanley, Seung Yul Noh, Nick Watney, and Thorbjorn Olesen, it’s apparent that they’ve been growing drastically as a serious competitor in the golfing market.

  9. harrold

    Jan 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    why does everyone hate on nike equipment, the vr pro blades are just the same as 712’s and are forged in the same factory as muzuno blades. The wedges are forged and are a quality wedge and their woods are now some of the best on the market. Why are golfers determined to hate any brand that isnt titleist, open your eyes to the market.

    • Chris Voshall

      Jan 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Harrold….They Nike’s are not forged in the same factory as the Mizunos! They are an exclusive Mizuno forging house! And before you ask how I know…it’s because I have been there!

      • Rory's the King

        Jan 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Chris… Even if you’ve been there don’t mean you know much. Don’t think you listened much in the factory if you did go there. Does Endo ring a bell? nike is an Endo Forged and you couldn’t even tell the difference. Enjoy the Tiger and Rory show.

  10. Tyler

    Jan 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    There is a difference between the clubs the pros play and the clubs us average joes play. The clubs available in the tour trucks are built to exact tolerances and most are custom fabricated. Not to mention they can use whichever shafts they choose, they aren’t stuck with a proprietary shaft. I think that’s why you see tour pros switching equipment companies every other week without much consequence. Switching to another brand may have been an issue 20 years ago, but these days the technology and manufacturing are mostly identical from one manufacturer to the next so that it really doesn’t bother the pros.

  11. Josh

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Ummmmm, I do there Nuke.

  12. Nuke LaLoosh

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’d play Nike for 20 million but I would not pay for it. Have you ever seen anyone beside the pros play Nike stuff?

    • Grim

      Jan 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      I play Nike stuff and I play it because it is the best equipment for my game.

      The VR LTD woods are long and easy to hit, plus look classic, and I play the VR Pro wedges because I like the set up, they are forged, and the ones I got will rust and look great with my MB2s.

      Half the people who hate on Nike have obviously never tried them or got fit properly.

      • Huge

        Jan 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        .NIKE is without doubt the most technologically advanced equipment out there ..get on it!

    • Blanco

      Jan 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Yes all the time. Several of the fairways esp. the Sumo 2 is EXTREMELY popular with guys playing for Titleist, PING, TMAG… Non staffers also playing the VR Forged wedges and Method putters.

      You know the media machine has you when you build a rock-solid opinion about something you’ve never tried and know nothing about.

      • Brandell

        Jan 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

        Totally agree… People make me laugh. What makes them believe that Nike is the crapy company out there?! I work on the inside of the biz and I’m more likely to think that TMAG is the biggest BS company in the industry! What loads of crap to make consumers think the will gain 17 + 10 With their nice white racing stripped clubs?! Wow! Wake up people, these guys are putting you asleep with their strong pitching wedges and extra inches in shaft lengths! Nike is a dominating Brand in all sports! Face it, realize it and enjoy the show that will unfold in a few days in Abu Dhabi with the two biggest stars of the game!

    • Brandell

      Jan 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Things will change my friend…. Just wait. You think people play that Ugly white thing for the right reasons. Just remember, Nike is very young in the golf Biz. They will own it before you know it. Just enjoy the show. Starts this weekend.

    • evan

      Mar 31, 2013 at 1:55 am

      nike makes the best clubs on the market….GET OVER IT

  13. Golfer123

    Jan 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I like him better with titleist

    • Brandell

      Jan 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      What is their to like more about him with Titleist? A sweet Nascar Look and some Ugly shoes!? Camon man… The guy looks like the biggest star in the SWOOSH. love everything about it. Good for him. He will smoke it with the COVERT.

  14. Rufiolegacy

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

    This is going to be a big year for Nike, and the Covert. Can’t wait to get my hands on that thing!

  15. GolfDose

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Can’t believe he would change all 14 of his clubs. Who knows he might turn out to something as big as Dustin Johnson first win of 2013 and R1 Taylormade on Tour.

  16. Hula_Rock

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Interesting , A 10.5 degree COVERT ?????

    • GolfDose

      Jan 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

      10.5 neutral setting. Maybe he’s going to set it lower?

      • Ron

        Jan 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

        about 60% of tour pros use 10.5 drivers. its all about carry distance

    • Chris

      Jan 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Well, there’s no dancing around it. Nike made it’s move at the right time and with great excitement. This move should motivate other manufacturers to press the envelope in building a team that can be just as dynamic. All in all, I hope this turns out to be good for golf as a whole.

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Whats in the Bag

Chris Baker WITB 2020

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chris-baker-witb-2020
  • Equipment accurate as of January 2020

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero Triple Diamond (9 degrees, D1 setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 65

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees, NS setting)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

5-wood: Cobra King F9 Speedback Tour (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Regio Formula M+ X 75

Irons: Cobra King F9 Speedback (4), Miura MC-501 (4-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-08F, 56-10S, 60-06M)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130 (50), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 (56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron TSB Prototype
Grip: SuperStroke SS2R

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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All-new Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw and tour-inspired T-Grind wedges

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Callaway Raw MD5 Wedge

Callaway is adding to its successful Callaway Jaws MD5 lineup with a new grind and a new look: MD5 Raw and T-Grind wedges.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 story

As we covered in the original 2020 Callaway MD5 launch piece, these wedges are more than just a stepping stone for the engineering team at Callaway, and instead are a complete evolution of how they design and manufacture their wedges. Here’s why: By reinventing the overall groove shape compared to previous models, they have succeeded in increasing both spin and total control on full and less-than-full shots.

The proprietary groove design of the Jaws wedge gets the contact radius right to the limit set forth by the governing bodies. How closes are we talking?” So close that the initial response from Callaway’s manufacturing partner was “Sorry, we just can’t do this” because the failure rate was close to 50 percent of heads becoming nonconforming.

The solution for Callaway? Changing the cutting tool used on the grooves every 15 wedges. Sure, you could attempt to get more life out of each tool, but when you have everyone from recreational players to the world’s best putting them in play, you can’t make sacrifices.

Callaway 2020 MD5 JAWS Wedge Grooves

2020 Callaway Jaws MD5 wedge: groove detail

The end result is the MD5 Jaws spins over 10 percent more on shots hit around the green compared to the Callaway MD4 and launches lower by one degree. Lower launch is important, because if you talk to any short game coach with a launch monitor, or Roger Cleveland, in Callaway’s case, you will quickly realize that being able to control launch with a wedge is just as important as it is with a driver. A lower-launching wedge means the coefficient of friction is higher since the ball isn’t riding/sliding up the face—and boom, you have a greater ability to hit the “low checker.”

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-lineup

The raw finish

After many years of limited retail availability, raw wedges have come back in style in a big way thanks to more golfers understanding the benefits of an unplated wedge—it also helps that the most popular finish option in professional golf is raw and unplated too.

The Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw is made from 8620 mild carbon steel to offer a soft feel. Over time, the unplated finish will patina to reduce glare—nothing worse than trying to hit a wedge shot on a sunny day and having the full reflection of the sun nearly blind you in the process.

callaway-jaws-md5-raw-face

The Raw MD5 maintains all the other design features of the already available MD5 wedges, including the four ports and medallions on the back of the head to raise CG for greater trajectory control—but also gives golfers the added option to customize through Callaway Customs.

The T-Grind story

Just like how raw finishes have grown in popularity, so have wedge grinds that offer greater versatility on full and partial shots around the green. The new T-Grind (available in 58 and 60-degree lofts) is a popular choice because it has a higher measured bounce in a standard neutral playing position, but thanks to the crescent sole with heel, toe, and trailing edge relief, the leading edge can get closer to the ground on shots played with an open face.

This puts bounce where you need it and takes it away from places you don’t. Compared to the similar-looking X-Grind (available in 54 and 56-degree lofts) the T has less bounce which can also help players that are more shallow or play in softer more lush conditions.

The new T Grind will also look different from address compared to the standard higher lofted MD5 wedges because they have a slightly thicker topline to raise CG for controlled ball flight.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new MD5 wedges will be available for purchase at retail and online starting June 4, and the retail price is $159.99

Lofts – (Italicized are the new grind options)

Right Handed:

  • 50° S Grind,
  • 52° S Grind
  • 54° S and X Grind
  • 56° S and X Grind
  • 58° S,  X, and T Grind
  • 60° S, T, and X Grind
  • 62° C Grind

Left Handed:

  • 52° S Grind
  • 56° S Grind
  • 60° S Grind

The wedges come with 3 premium stock shaft options, Steel: Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S200. Graphite: ProjectX Catalyst 80, and UST Recoil wedge F1 ( Ladies flex only )

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What GolfWRXers are saying about Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges

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@clevelandgolfeu

In our forums, our members have been discussing Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges. WRXer ‘hammergolf’ wants to hear from single-digit players who are currently playing the wedges, and our members have been sharing their thoughts on the clubs with plenty of praise for the wedges in our forums.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • cfmgolf: “I am definitely a believer. Tried it on a whim at a PGA SuperStore in FL last fall and was stunned by the consistency of it. Changed from a RTX3 to the CBX2 in my 52* gap within a couple of weeks. Now that we are back in OH for the summer, I changed out 3 wedges (Ping Glide 3.0, and 2 of the RTX 4’s) for an entire bag of the CBX2’s. I am trying the full face in my 56* and found it to be very good also. Biggest benefit for me has been the consistency of the CBX line. Shots out of the rough that can be high on the club don’t really lose much – i.e. more forgiving. I go between a 6-8HCP, and short game is my strong point. Very happy with them so far.”
  • JCRay33: “6 handicap here and bought a couple CBX’s (54 and 58) from 2nd swing a couple months ago and absolutely love them! Way more forgiving than typical blade wedges (had vokeys before) and great feel as well. It’s easy for ego to get in the way and not want to get these, but once you realize, all that matters is performance the choice is a no-brainer and results speak for themselves really.”
  • mortimer: “CBX2 50. Excellent gap wedge for full, 3/4 shots and chipping. Forgiving, consistent and more than acceptable spin numbers. Also offset is fine to my eye. Having said all that I would not game a 58/60 degrees one if you like to manipulate the face for different shots around the green as I do. Intrigued though with the new full-face but have not seen one in person yet.”
  • Simp: “I have a set of 58, 54 & 50 raw CBX2’s allegedly tour issue, and I love them. The 58 has a grind that is lovely. I’m a 0 FYI.”
  • nicelife: “I have Srixon irons and Mizuno T20 wedges. I found the CBX2 50 was the perfect transition club between sets. LOVE the Srixon/Cleveland V-Sole. Visually the face has more grooves than I would normally like to look at, but its performance more than makes up for it. I really like the satin finish. So much so I’m thinking about refinishing my irons. Go for it you won’t be sorry.”

Entire Thread: “Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges”

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