Well on his way to another embarrassing posting on Friday at the Honda Classic, 23 year-old Rory McIlroy went out in Nike fashion. On his way to a possible 80, McIlroy picked up and quit after hitting into the water on the ninth hole in his second round.
The promising young McIlroy is well known for his rise on the PGA tour in the past few years, but the things we remember are the complete upsets and blowups, like his famous 80 at the Masters in 2011. He was at it again last weekend, proving that he can’t always keep it together or control his emotions.
Maybe it’s the pressure of being No. 1, the new clubs, or the new contract swelling his bank account with millions that are contributing to the downfall of what we thought was a promising career. But whatever the problem is Titleist must be chuckling that their once top-tier player is failing miserably with his new Nike equipment.
Nike is known for having great athletes that wear the very recognizable swoosh in almost every sport, but the equipment in the golf world doesn’t have the same reputation. Tiger Woods doesn’t play with a full bag of Nike equipment despite the millions they pay him a year. If the world’s most successful golfer doesn’t feel comfortable winning with Nike’s equipment, there must be a problem.
Sadly enough, McIlroy is rumored to have signed a contract that only allows him to play Nike equipment, unlike Woods. Even with all of his talent, the Nike sticks could potentially take away his number one ranking he earned last year.
Many of his statements regarding other players and his poor performances have made it difficult for some of the older players to respect the young talent. This week he told the media as he was walking in the parking lot after his abrupt exit, that he wasn’t mentally in the right place. Shortly after he tweeted: “Apologies to all at the Honda. A tough day made impossible by severe tooth pain. Was desperate to defend title but couldn’t play on. Gutted.” Toothache or emotional problems are no excuse for the defending champion to walk off the course.
This is where his lack of experience and young minded view of the game could cost him his career as a respected golfer.
The move to Nike seemed like the best for both parties back in January when the rumored $200 million contract was signed, but the hot-headed McIlroy doesn’t seem to have the confidence he once had with his Titleist equipment. Tiger said it best to Rory in the “No Cup is Safe” commercial featuring both star players, “You’ll learn.”