Belfast Telegraph

£156m: How much Rory McIlroy is being paid to be the new face of Nike

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland’s golfing superstar Rory McIlroy is expected to announce one of the world’s largest sporting sponsorship deals — thought to be worth a staggering £156m.

The world number one golfer was due to become the new golfing face of Nike in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, according to reports.

McIlroy is due to sign the deal with the company after it was confirmed last week that he had severed ties with his long-time sponsors, hotel group Jumeirah.

Jumeirah had sponsored the two-time major winner since he was just 18. Despite the expected massive multi-million pound contract, the 23-year-old Holywood man has also proven that home is still where his heart is after it was revealed he is helping to back a host of charities, including the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children (NICFC).

His new project will see the golfing star play six high-profile tournaments in the first four months of the year with the name and logo of a different charity on his bag each time. The local cancer charity will now be displayed on the sportsman’s bag at the HSBC tournament in Abu Dhabi later this month.

Last month it seemed that Rory and his Danish tennis star girlfriend were set to tie the knot amid widespread rumours, after Caroline Wozniacki was spotted sporting what appeared to be an engagement ring.

But the rumours of the couple’s impending nuptials were soon quashed after a statement on behalf of the Co Down golfer confirmed that Rory had “not become engaged to Caroline Wozniacki”.

The couple — dubbed ‘Wozzilroy’ by Rory — recently featured in Forbes magazine’s influential list of 30 people under 30.

It’s understood that the golfing hero — who recently put his massive luxury Co Down home on the market — didn’t spend Christmas back home in his native Northern Ireland.

Rory had yet another successful year out on the course during 2012 — being named the PGA Tour Player of the Year by his fellow players on the US Tour.

The world’s top golfing talent won four events in the US during 2012, including the US PGA title, and he also won the World Tour Championship in Dubai.

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