Billion dollar Rory! Nike deal sets McIlroy on his way to UK record haul… but Ryder Cup storm clouds threaten his Abu Dhabi party
22:48 GMT, 14 January 2013
23:09 GMT, 14 January 2013
Dude, is that your real hair
Watch the first Nike advert featuring both new signing Rory McIlroy and original superstar Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy took a major step to becoming the United Kingdom's first billion-dollar sportsman after he was officially unveiled as a Nike athlete.
At a press conference in Abu Dhabi filled with glitz and glamour, the Northern Irishman, 23, signed a $25million-a-year (about 15.5m) contract that, alongside tournament earnings and appearance fees of similar magnitude, could see him break the 10-figure earnings barrier before he finishes his glittering career.
Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he won his last major and the legendary Arnold Palmer is still raking in $20m (about 12.4m) a year in sponsorship despite now being in his eighties.
Just done it: Rory McIlroy has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike that will see him net 155m
If McIlroy can avoid the scandals that have affected other Nike athletes such as Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong and keep his form, that gargantuan billion-dollar figure is clearly within range.
McIlroy was welcomed into the fold by fellow Nike superstars Wayne Rooney, Roger Federer and Woods himself. Messages of support from the trio were played on a big screen behind where McIlroy and Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, were sitting.
Spectacular: McIlroy's image was projected onto water at a glitzy ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday
No details of the Nike deal have been revealed but the initial contract is believed to be worth up to $25m a year and could run for a decade. That equates to around $68,000 (over 42,000) a day but McIlroy vowed not to let the staggering sums of money distract him from his game.
Rory the cleaner's son mops up
Read Derek Lawrenson's verdict on the sponsorship deal that everyone is talking about…
'I don't play golf for money, I am well past that,' he said. 'I am a major champion and world No 1, which I have always dreamed of being, and I want to keep on living the dream. If I haven't won another major by the end of this year I am going to be very disappointed.'
McIIroy's megabucks deal heralded what promises to be a momentous week in Abu Dhabi, with Europe's Ryder Cup captain due to be announced on Tuesday.
The Holywood star reiterated his backing for Paul McGinley but there are plenty of whispers that the 15-man Tournament Players' Committee, who have the vote, might go for Scot Colin Montgomerie on home soil at Gleneagles next year.
If that happens, McIlroy might find himself leading a revolt among the men who were at Medinah.
Welcome to the big time: McIlroy joins Tiger Woods in earning a huge sum as the face of Nike's golf division