Nick Faldo: Rory McIlroy’s switch to Nike is dangerous
Nike has made Rory McIlroy an offer he can’t refuse, and the world’s No. 1 golfer is reportedly going to announce that he has accepted it in the coming weeks. In addition to guaranteeing him $250 million in the coming years, the endorsement deal will also make McIlroy the next Tiger Woods — the face of golf. But will it affect his play?
Nick Faldo is concerned that McIlroy is underestimating how big of a change it will be to go from Titleist to Nike clubs.
“The bottom line is he’s doing it for money,” Faldo said according to The Telegraph. “When he looks at a 20-year career it’s not necessary. If he carries on and wins more majors he’ll be worth hundreds of millions anyway. Sure this is a wonderful guarantee but Rory knows the biggest thing is winning golf tournaments. If he believes that’s still going to happen, fine. But if it holds him back for a split second in his mind then you will question it.
“As professional golfers we get a millisecond of feedback from impact. And if you get that lovely feedback and the ball goes where you want it, that’s a tick in the confidence box. But if you think ‘oh, that felt different’ and the ball doesn’t go where you want it to go, it starts to eat away at your confidence.”
McIlroy, who has not officially said he will join Nike, said he has tested some new clubs and that a switch would not change his game. Faldo and McIlroy agree that many manufacturers make their clubs almost identically, but Faldo said even as little as a different sound could have you questioning yourself. Instead of switching to “Tiger’s brand,” Faldo thinks Rory should have created his own.
“I’m surprised he’s going to Nike,” Faldo said. “Tiger has made that his brand and to join someone else’s brand really surprises me as I thought he would stick to his own thing. Rory could easily start ‘The Rory Brand’ and build his own identity. He’s that popular he doesn’t need to be a Nike guy, or adidas guy or whatever. When you’re 23 and world No 1 what a great time to build ‘The Rory Brand’ – a true brand, not somebody else’s.”
Whether it’s traveling to see his girlfriend or signing a massive endorsement deal, there are always going to be things for people to point to if Rory struggles. Turning down $250 million isn’t an easy thing to do. The 23-year-old did what most of us probably would have done, especially at his age.