November 2, 2012 | Shay M.
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Rory McIlroy and the Acushnet Company—the company that owns Titleist and FootJoy—will not renew their sponsorship agreement when it expires at the end of the year.
After a successful five-year relationship, the two publicized their split earlier this week amid rumors that Nike was pursuing McIlroy with a deal worth up to $20 million a year. However, McIlroy, now the number one-ranked golfer in the world, has not yet publicly confirmed his intention to sign with the footwear, apparel and equipment giant.
In a statement by chief executive Wally Uihlein, Titleist wished McIlroy a bright future, saying the company was proud to have been able to play such a significant role in his career, providing him with "the best equipment and service that would help him be the best player he could possibly be." In response, McIlroy echoed Uihlein's sentiments and thanked Titleist for helping him progress in the golf world.
The Irish phenom's trajectory to the pinnacle of golf rivals that of Tiger Woods—who, it turns out, also initially signed a sponsorship deal with Titleist before leaving for Nike. The two players recently went head to head in an 18-hole exhibition match in China. McIlroy won by a stroke. It was the first individual competition Woods had agreed to since the Battle at the Bridges against Sergio Garcia in 2003. (Both Woods and McIlroy are obviously great, but both have struggled at times with the mental game.)
Thus far this year, McIlroy has won the U.S. PGA Championship at Kiawah and the U.S. PGA Tour money title; and he is the frontrunner for the European Tour money title.
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