On Jan. 14, Nike Golf introduced Rory McIlroy as the newest member of its staff in a glitzy press event in Abu Dhabi. Terms were not released, but McIlroy's deal is surely one of the biggest ever in golf. Here's a look back at some of the other biggest business deals in the history of the game.
2 of 12Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Palmer hires McCormack
When Mark McCormack founded IMG and signed Arnold Palmer as his first client, the idea that an athlete could be a global brand was born. Within two years, Palmer's endorsement earnings grew from $6,000 to $500,000.
3 of 12Hogan: Floyd Bright/SI; Clubs: David Walberg/SI
Hogan starts his own club company
Ben Hogan started his club company in 1953, and although he sold it to AMF in 1960, and the brand changed hands several times over the years, Hogan's name was on every club until the line was discontinued in 2008.
4 of 12TYLER ST. PIERRE/AP
Nicklaus opens design business
In 1968, Jack Nicklaus created Harbour Town with Pete Dye and went on to found Nicklaus Design, which has become one of the leading firms in the industry. The company is responsible for 350 courses in 34 countries.
5 of 12Bill Daniels, Hill & Knowlton/AP
Daly signs with Wilson
After winning the 1991 PGA, John Daly signed a $10 million contract with Wilson. By 1997, Wilson had dropped him, but the relationship did spawn a TV ad starring Daly, with a matching hairdo, as Michael Jordan's caddie.
6 of 12DON RYAN/AP
Woods signs Nike mega-deal
Since signing Tiger Woods in 1996, Nike has become a major player in golf. SI.com estimates Tiger's annual endorsement income to be more than $54 million, with Nike being his biggest benefactor.
7 of 12Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Leadbetter joins Callaway
Callaway Golf took a big leap in 1996 by signing instructor David Leadbetter. It proved to be a pioneering move, as club companies now pay hundreds of instructors around the world to wear their logos and play their clubs.
8 of 12Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Callaway signs Ty Tryon
Tiger Woods led other companies to search for the next young golf star. In 2001, Callaway signed 17-year-old Ty Tryon to a multi-year, multi-million-dollar endorsement deal, but his career never panned out.
9 of 12Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Callaway signs Mickelson in 2004
When Phil Mickelson won the 2004 Masters, he dropped Titleist for Callaway. He signed an extension in 2009, and SI.com estimates his annual endorsement income to be $57 million, much of which comes from Callaway.
10 of 12Ronen Zilberman/AP
Wie signs with Nike and Sony
In 2005, 15-year-old phenom Michelle Wie turned pro, announcing endorsement deals with Nike and Sony. Though still only 23, Wie has only won twice on the LPGA Tour.
11 of 12Schecter Lee
Fila Korea buys Acushnet, Titleist
In 2011, Fortune Brands Inc. sold Acushnet, the parent company for iconic golf brands Titleist and FootJoy, to Fila Korea for $1.23 billion.
12 of 12Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Woods leaves IMG with Steinberg
In June 2011, Woods announced that he would be leaving the IMG sports agency -- the same agency Mark McCormack founded in 1960 -- to follow longtime agent Mark Steinberg to Excel Sports Management.
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