The world's 10th ranked player, Rory McIlroy, has signed with Oakley Inc. to wear its apparel and eyewear. The wild-haired Northern Irishman is a rising star of international golf, having won the Quail Hollow Championship in May, finished third in two 2010 majors, and excelled in Ryder Cup play. At 21, he cuts the sort of youthful, brash figure that suits the Oakley extreme-sports image. (The deciding factor may have been when he recently dyed his hair a sort of California-surfer blond.) Oakley also sponsors Ricky Barnes on the PGA Tour.
A group of Oakley executives in New York this week waxed enthusiastic about McIlroy in their apparel, which includes high-performance shirts and trousers in offbeat colors and graphic patterns. Among the golf styles were color-blocked polos with snaps instead of buttons and their best-selling long stretch shorts (which you can be fairly certain you won't see on tour). Of course, many pros wear Oakley eyewear, whether sponsored or not, especially the popular Flak Jacket model. Oakley executives said McIlroy will likely wear the brand new Fast Jacket golf sunglasses, which the company is introducing in May, featuring a new version of its switch-lock interchangeable lens system. However, he will not be wearing Oakley golf shoes, although the company makes them. (He is sticking with his FootJoy Icons).