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Rory McIlroy 'sad' over Nike's decision to end golf equipment manufacture

Rory McIlroy has said he is "sad" for Nike employees responsible for producing its golf equipment after the company's decision to end manufacture.

McIlroy will soon be hitting the pro shop after his sponsor and the sportswear giant announced it is to end the manufacture of golf equipment.

In a statement released on Wednesday the American company announced it would no longer produce bags, balls and clubs and instead focus on making clothes and shoes for the world's fairways.

— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) August 4, 2016  

The world number three said those employees responsible for his gear "worked hard to produce genuinely great golf equipment" and he would always appreciate their support.

The company has held long associations with golfers McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie.

"We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” said Trevor Edwards, president, Nike Brand.

“We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.

Daric Ashford, president of Nike Golf added: “Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide.

“Over the past year the MM Fly Blade Polo, the Flyknit Chukka and Air Zoom 90 have all connected strongly with golfers. We’ll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game.”

After Holywood golfer McIlroy signed his reported £150million 10-year deal in 2013 he suffered a dip in form and struggled with the change in equipment.

Many pundits speculated that the change in clubs was to blame and he only managed the one win, at the Australian Open, in all of 2013.

Although the four-time Major winner found his feet with victories in the Open, his second PGA Championship, World Golf Championships  and Irish Open among others.

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