Rory McIlroy unveiled Tuesday he has signed a multiyear, “long-term” deal with TaylorMade to play with its bag, full set of clubs and ball. Yep, all 14 clubs in his bag plastered with the company’s logo will be produced by TaylorMade.
The Guardian is reporting that McIlroy contract is worth $100 million for 10 years. Ga-ching!
Confirmation of McIlroy’s new branding – he recently signed a 10-year extension to a Nike apparel agreement worth $200m alone – arrived at the Players Championship, which begins at Sawgrass on Thursday. The figures involved endorse the Northern Irishman’s status as one of the most marketable individuals in global sport with TaylorMade’s deal believed to be their biggest fiscal commitment to any golfer.
“I tested different combinations, a lot of different stuff, and I came to the conclusion that this was the best way forward for me to try and improve, try and win more, try to get back to world No1, try to win more majors,” McIlroy said. “So I’m really excited about that.
“I tested quite a few balls and the one that I landed on was really it; the ball was what led me to this point because this is the best ball I’ve ever hit. Then it was just about trying to match everything up to that.”
Looks like Rory McIlroy is following Jason Day’s queue. Well, kind of. Day has been a TaylorMade loyalist for his entire career (or at least since he’s been on the PGA Tour), playing with its clubs and ball. When Nike announced in August 2016 that it was shuttering its club manufacturer business — yet its apparel/shoe sector (which is one of the best in the industry, IMHO) — it gave players, like McIlroy and Tiger Woods, among others, a very beneficial opportunity to seek new endorsement deals with other equipment companies.
Wait, so actually, I take back my lede. McIlroy is taking the Tiger route, which is something he’s admittedly done throughout his career, like signing that ginormous deal with Nike a few years ago. Rory’s move from Titleist to Nike wasn’t embraced by industry insiders, as I think unfortunately, there was still that old-school view that the latter wasn’t as superior to the former, which was cited as the main reason for ending the equipment side of its business. But I digress, Woods signed a deal with TaylorMade back in January.
These Nike guys are getting the best of both worlds. To my understanding, they’re still getting paid out the huge endorsement bucks left on their Nike contracts, and then on top of that, they’re also bankrolling even more millions since they’ve been allowed to ink sponsorship deals with new club manufacturers. That’s #winning.
McIlroy spent the beginning of 2017 switching between using Callaway and TaylorMade clubs. Despite Taylormade’s big-name roster that includes world no. 1 Dustin Johnson and world no. 3 Day, the company, which dominated sales and staged successful marketing campaigns early in the decade, Callaway, under the direction of Marketing whiz Harry Arnett, has taken over as the “It” brand. TaylorMade’s successful recruitment of McIlroy means that the company’s clubs are played by the top-three players in the world.
From McIlroy’s presser Tuesday morning:
“I’m really excited that I have teamed up with TaylorMade. As I said, I needed to address a few issues after Augusta. I alluded to the fact that I wasn’t really happy with the golf ball I was playing and I needed to do something. I felt like I struggled in the wind.
“So I sort of went back to the drawing board and tested for about 10 days pretty extensively after Augusta, worked with a lot of different things, but I worked with the TaylorMade guys one day and started just on TrackMan on the range and saw stuff with the golf ball, that new TP5x ball that they have, and I thought, wow, this is what I need, this is exactly the thing that I’ve been struggling with, and this is, I feel, is what I need.
“And then over the over the course of the next few days, I tested different combinations, a lot of different stuff, and I came to the conclusion that that was the best way forward for me to try and improve, try and win more, try to get back to world No. 1, try to win more Majors. So I’m really excited about that.
“I’ve been on Tour 10 years, and this is — it’s very rare that you get really excited about your equipment, but I feel like it’s a new chapter in my life with a lot of stuff going on, but I really feel with the new equipment, as well, it’s hopefully going to take me to that next level.”
Nothing like signing a long-term club contract shortly after sealing a lifetime marriage contract!
In making his decision, McIlroy’s penchant for TaylorMade’s woods was critical to his ultimate decision. On the other hand, the ball gave him pause.
“The woods were,” said Mcilroy when asked for where he stood at the end 2016 re: TaylorMade. “If anything, I sort of chickened out a little bit with the ball because I just went back to what was familiar. I went back to something that I had played for awhile, and I really didn’t give any other golf balls much of a chance. But then after I played two tournaments pre and post injury, and they were both at altitude with no wind, so you can’t really — don’t really know what it’s really doing.
“Once I got back to sea level, played Bay Hill, played Austin, played the Masters, and I got a little bit of wind, I realized it just wasn’t right, wasn’t performing for me, so I had to go back to the drawing board.
“I tested quite a few balls, and the one that I landed on — and that was really it, the ball was what led me to this point, because it was like, this is the best ball I’ve hit in — well, ever. I feel like it’s really the best ball for me going forward, and then it was just trying to match everything up to that, and that’s why I feel like this is the best way forward.”
Stay candid, Rory. (We know you will.)
Some details on WITB for Rory this week at The Players, via TaylorMade’s press release:
*TP5x Golf Ball
*‘17 M2 Driver
As evidenced by the following chart, his average numbers after multiple shots hit during his testing period were remarkable:
- 181 MPH ballspeed
- 12.3° launch angle
- 2119 RPM spin rate
- 315.8-yard carry average, 338.5 total average
*’17 M2 Tour Fairways
*“RORS Proto” Irons
Rory has played muscle-back irons throughout his career and worked closely with TaylorMade’s R&D team in testing a new prototype the iron team in Carlsbad has been developing. Characterized by a shorter blade length, reduced offset and revised shaping, the “Rors Proto” iron has not only exceeded McIlroy’s performance expectations but also aesthetically suits his eyes perfectly, too. In addition to his new irons, he’s opted to play the 3 & 4 irons of the P750 Tour Proto.
*Milled Grind Wedges
A closer look the TaylorMade products in Rory’s bag this week at THE PLAYERS:
– ’17 M2 Driver / 9.5° / MCG Kuro Kage Silver 70 XTS
– ’17 M2 Tour Fairway / 13.5° / MCG Tensei CK Blue 90TX
– ’17 M2 Tour Fairway / 19° / Fujikura Composites Pro P95X
– P750 Tour Proto Irons / 3-4 / True Temper Project X 7.0
– “Rors Proto” Irons / 5-9 / True Temper Project X 7.0
– Milled Grind Wedges / 48°, 54° & 60°/ True Temper Project X 6.5
– TP5x Golf Ball / #22