Rory McIlroy is set to start his first tournament of 2013 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week, but the much bigger beginning for the world's No. 1 player will be his debut with a new equipment sponsor.
Rumors have been flying this offseason about McIlroy's next move, and all signs point to a massive new deal with Nike. McIlroy parted ways with Titleist and the Jumeirah hotel group, and another former sponsor, Oakley, is suing McIlroy and Nike. Some reports have estimated the deal to be worth as much as $250 million over 10 years, but the terms of the deal are not expected to be announced. Photos also surfaced last week of Nike clubs with "RORS" stamped on them. They were apparently taken at a course in Dubai, where McIlroy was practicing for this week's tournament. Tiger Woods, who has been the face of Nike Golf since signing with the company in 1996, is also playing in Abu Dhabi this week.
Nike told Golf.com weeks ago that the company was planning a major announcement on Monday in Abu Dhabi, so stay tuned for more reports.
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