Rory McIlroy to leave Titleist -- What does it mean?
This press release arrived on my digital doorstep a literal 30 seconds ago. What does it mean? Have a read and then we’ll discuss …
Fairhaven, MA (October 30, 2012) - Acushnet Company, which manufactures the Titleist and FootJoy brands, and Rory McIlroy, jointly announced today that McIlroy’s relationship with Acushnet will not extend beyond December 31, 2012. McIlroy has trusted Titleist and FootJoy equipment throughout his professional career that commenced as an 18-year old in September 2007.
“Our goal has been to provide Rory with the best equipment and service that would help him be the best player he could possibly be,” said Wally Uihlein, Chief Executive Officer, Acushnet Company. “He has been a great ambassador for the Titleist and FootJoy brands, and in turn, we are proud of how our equipment has contributed to his success. We wish Rory all the best, both personally and professionally, going forward.”
“I would like to thank Wally Uihlein and all of the tour staff and employees at Titleist and FootJoy for everything they have done for me since I turned professional in 2007,” said McIlroy. “I have enjoyed five very exciting and successful years with the company and I will always appreciate the contribution Titleist has made in helping me become the player I am today.”
So, what does it mean?
• It means that the Bromance of the 2010s will be Tiger and Rory at Nike. Plain and simple.
• It means that Acushnet will have an opportunity to combine the McIlroy money with a few lessened contracts (Steve Stricker, watch out!) and go after a big name like Dustin Johnson, to partner with Adam Scott and Webb Simpson (already on the Titleist staff.) Combined with the apparent resurgence of Nick Watney, Titleist needs to be known for more than just golf balls. Take a look at the Titleist tour players on www.titleist.com … how many of them play Titleist clubs?
When I think of Luke Donald, I think Mizuno. Same for Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson (see the visor?) and Hunter Mahan (see the hat?) but with Ping. Rickie Fowler? Cobra (no longer an Acushnet brand.)
• Actually, check that Bromance reference. Do any of you remember Bernard Hinault, the great cyclist of the 1970s and 1980s? His heir apparent was Greg Lemond. They rode for the same team and Hinault was public about his view that Lemond was his protege. When the time came to hand over the wand, in 1986, Hinault forced Lemond to wrench it from his still-vital hands. And wrench it Lemond did. I don’t think that this will be a Tiger-rory bromance. I think that Tiger will once again be vitalized into giving his best golf performances at the majors. He will remind the world why he is the one and only tiger Woods and he will make the early hype (two majors) on McIlroy take a back seat.
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