Whats the deal with Nike?


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Everyone knows that Rory is going to sign with Nike, or that he already has but no one has made a big marketing push yet.  I just checked out Rory’s facebook, twitter page, and his official website and there is no mention of either Titleist or Nike.  However the tag line now reads I am Rory McIlroy.  Pretty sure that was a Tiger/Nike thing – I am Tiger Woods.  The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship starts on 1/17 and that will be Tigers and Rory’s first tournament of 2013.  I would expect a giant unveiling of Rory for this tournament from Nike.  But again I am only speculating.

Besides bagging the world #1, and keeping golfs greatest player of our generation (who is not yet done winning), who else did Nike scoop up this year?  Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, two big young guns on the PGA Tour.  Watney is coming into his own with a win a the Barclays (his PGA Tour 5th win) and Kyle Stanley is probably my favorite story of 2012 with his horrorshow collapse at the Farmers Insurance Open to the epic win the next week at the Waste Management Phoniex Open.  The PGA Tour could not have written a better story if they had tried, and a true life comeback story is always one of my favorites.

But back to Nike, grabbing some very influential players, and young players at that, what are they going for this year in the golf industry?  Did they see something that the rest of us missed.  TaylorMade has a slew of young players veterans and major champions playing its wonderfully ugly drivers that no one on the planet could mistake for anything else (but it is working very well for them).  Cleveland Golf unfortunately is all but out of the golf business.  Mizuno has the market cornered on the low handicappers forged iron market, but if you asked 10 golfers at a public course to name its current set of woods – you would be hard pressed to get anyone with the right answer.  Ping makes great stuff for the average guy, but people are not hyped up by Ping (even with Hunter and Bubba commercials which I find hilarious).  Titleist, which in my opinion is the top dog of the golf industry, seems to be loosing ground to Nike.  Is Nike out for the number one spot in golf equipment?  Can they overtake the other major labels at golfs equipment summit?  Only time will tell, but it does get the old golfing brain to spinning doesn’t it?

In the 90’s when Tiger Woods hit the scene with his Hello World commercials Nike did not have a golf equipment presence.  Zero Zip Nada.  No one played their clubs, but then the Tiger Woods golf boom hit, and all of the sudden Nike became a golfing force to be reckoned with.  I believe golf is on its way to its next boom, and the person leading that charge is Rory McIlroy.  So who does Nike scoop up, none other than Rory McIlroy.  But Nike doesn’t stop there and starts scooping up other top golfers on the PGA Tour.  Last year Nike did not have much of a presence in the world rankings, but with a couple of strategic moves, they have the #1 and #3 player in the world (who I believe will be fighting for the #1 spot this year).  Nike is making moves and I for one am very excited to see what they can come up with in 2013….can anyone say Major Championship?

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

In McIlory’s bag:

Driver:  ???
Fairway Wood:  ???
Irons:  ???
Wedges: ???
Putter: ???
Ball: ???
Apparel:  ???
Footwear:  ???

Rory has almost two years to get a minimum of 13 Nike Clubs in his bag, what do you think he will switch to?

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