24 Oct 2012

McIlroy plays down Nike deal talk

6:08 am on 24 October 2012

The world golf number one Rory McIlroy is playing down growing speculation that he's about to sign a multi-million deal to join Tiger Woods in the Nike stable.

McIlroy, who's in Shanghai for the BMW Masters which starts tomorrow, was responding to stories in Irish newspapers which claimed the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland was about to sign a Nike contract which could see him earn up to a staggering 300-million dollars over 10 years.

McIlroy's current deal with the giant Titleist equipment company expires at the end of this year, making the double major winner and leader on the money list on both sides of the Atlantic the most prized free agent on the equipment market.

Tiger Woods, the world number and McIlroy have become close friends as well as on-course rivals, and while Woods isn't playing the Shanghai tournament, he and McIlroy will go head-to-head in an 18-hole exhibition in China next Monday.