Rory McIlroy insisted major titles matter more than money after taking a massive step towards becoming one of the biggest earners in sporting history on Monday.
As expected, McIlroy has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Nike and although details of the deal were not revealed, it has been widely reported to be a 10-year contract worth as much as £150million if the world number one, previously with Titleist, goes on winning majors.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland will use Nike’s full range of equipment, with the clubs in competitive action for the first time in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship later this week against a field including the other leading golf name in Nike colours, 14-major winner and world number two Tiger Woods.
And despite concerns expressed by the likes of Nick Faldo about the change of clubs, McIlroy is firmly focused on quickly adding to his two major titles.
“I don’t play golf for the money, I am well past that,” McIlroy said.
“I’m a major champion and world number one, which I have always dreamed of being, and feel this is a company that can help me sustain that and win even more major titles.
“At the end of 2013, if I have not won another major I will be disappointed.”
Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, refused to discuss details of McIlroy’s contract, including whether there were any “behaviour” clauses given previous problems with Nike athletes Woods and Lance Armstrong.
But she added: “Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere.
“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.”