Back in 2013, at a flash hotel in Abu Dhabi, Nike announced Rory McIlroy as the future of their golf brand.
Estimated between $150-$200m over 10 years, and access to the world's best golfer, and undoubtedly the future of golf. The marriage was destined to fail before the ink had dried, as Rory had a shocker in the Abu Dhabi sunshine as he opened with 75-75 for +6 and missed the cut.
"Where will Rory go next?" has been one of the most popular questions I've been asked over the past day since Nike announced they'd be pulling the plug on club and ball manufacturing, and putting an end the ugly marriage between itself and Rory.
I know for a fact the situation which Nike have proposed to it athletes, thanks to first hand info from a Nike athlete, they've offered to let them trial other equipment, pay them exactly the remainder of what their contract is worth, without taking a cut in pay for not using Nike equipment, until the end of their contract.
So, this begs the question as to where Rory will end up, personally I see Rory going back to basics within his game, take away all of the tech from his drivers, fairway metals and woeful putter which has caused him nothing but misery for the past 12 months.
He'll want the best equipment for himself, so this is why he wont sign for anyone. Yup, you heard that right, he wont sign for anyone. As stated above, Nike will pay him the full remainder of his contract for apparel and footwear, so he wont need the money from PXG, and it's a dead certainty that Nike lawyers wont let him leave and sign a deal with TaylorMade.
Rory gets a pair of Titleist irons, they've worked for him before in the past, and they sure are one of the leading iron makers on tour, then he also sticks a set of Vokey wedges in the bag for good measure, why, well exactly the same reason as before, they've worked in the past, and the new SM6 wedges are the best on the market currently in my opinion.
Rich Beem has already said that Rory has a Scotty Cameron in his locker at Baltusrol last week, sadly my one major win doesn't get me access into that locker room, but hopefully he'll be joining me soon.
As for what driver and metal woods he puts in the bag, well he has free reign over what he wants, so this could be the only area which is a sticking point for himself, I know Rory is a huge fan of the M1 driver, after testing a friends driver whilst being in Northern Ireland earlier in the year.
Rory made the mistake of committing himself to a 14 club bag deal in 2013, and its certainly hampered his career, his putting has deteriorated, and it's clear that his putter gives him no confidence, his short game hasn't been of top quality neither, and it shows how much faith he has in the new Nike Vapor irons by still gaming a set of Nike VR Pro irons, which are now nearly 5 years of age.
Hence the reason Rory wont sign with anyone, he wont want to make this mistake all over again!
The original Secret Pro, giving you insight, entertainment and opinion to life on the weekly Tour Circus. All opinions my own and honest, with a little help.