TaylorMade HQ at Carlsbad

Jason Butler
BANGKOK, THAILAND Hot on the heels of Rory McIlroy’s announcement that TaylorMade will be his long-term equipment supplier, so parent company Adidas revealed they had offloaded the American based manufacturing giant to a private equity firm – KPS Capital Partners – for a cool $425 million.

When you consider that they have just shelled out $100 million to sign McIlroy and no doubt pay similar sums to Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and of course Tiger Woods, then it seems the new owners have picked up some bargain!

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy stands aside his new toys

Perhaps McIlroy signing on the dotted line was the deal maker.

Certainly was for the Northern Ireland star, who had been without a equipment supplier since Nike made the surprise decision to exit the industry back in 2016.

In the ensuing period McIlroy has been ‘putting himself about’ among the competition, dipping his toe in each of the Callaway and TaylorMade camps, first testing the Callaway Epic Woods and Irons and then putting the M2’s in his Master’s bag.

The bidding war between the two giants was won by TaylorMade and Rory left HQ at Carlsbad with a brand new set of clubs, a fancy new tour bag, some boxes of balls and a cheque for $100million to add to the $100million already paid out by Nike for sporting the Swoosh on his clothing. Not bad work if you can get it.

Indeed while we are on the subject of Rory’s annual earnings, add in the money paid for endorsing Omega, Bose, EA Sports and Upper Deck products, and you can safely put his annual take home pay – excluding tournament earnings – at around $40million.

Which makes the $250,000 outlaid for his recent nuptials look a tad tight!

Not that new bride Erica Stoll is complaining, and Rory seems pretty happy with the change in personal standing.

“The wedding was the greatest weekend of my life,” said McIlroy during preparations for the TPC Sawgrass.

“And the other great thing about being married is I’ve finally got a home to go to.”

“For the past few years I’ve only been able to spend 120 days in the States and 90 in the UK, so I’ve felt like a proper nomad.

“From now on I’m going to have a proper base, somewhere I can call home. It just makes you feel more centred, more settled, knowing you have somewhere to go back to anytime you feel like it.”

The old romantic has even gone so far as to print the date of his wedding – 22 – on his new TaylorMade TP5 balls.

Anyway enough about Rory’s balls, what did he have to say about the switch to TaylorMade?

“I’ve been on tour for 10 years and I can’t remember a time I’ve been this excited about my equipment. You get re-energized. You look at the guys that are playing this stuff and you’ve got Dustin [Johnson] who is No. 1 in the world, I’m No. 2, Jason Day No. 3, it’s like six of the top 15. Sergio, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose. Everyone is playing well with it, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

And as for the TaylorMade management? Well they are naturally delighted to have captured the most recognizable and marketable name in the modern game, after Tiger Woods of course. Oh but they have him on their books too!

“Our tour staff and product teams have been working closely with Rory for months,” said David Abeles, TaylorMade’s president and CEO. “After extensive testing we’re absolutely elated that he has chosen to join Team TaylorMade as he embarks on the next chapter of his career.”

All the talking has been done, now lets see how the new equipment holds up to the rigors of tournament golf when the TPC tees off.

What’s in Rory’s bag for The TPC at Sawgrass:

– ’17 M2 Driver / 9.5° / MCG Kuro Kage Silver 70 XTS

– ’17 M2 Tour Fairway / 13.5° / MCG Tensei CK Blue 90TX

– ’17 M2 Tour Fairway / 19° / Fujikura Composites Pro P95X

– P750 Tour Proto Irons / 3-4 / True Temper Project X 7.0

– “Rors Proto” Irons / 5-9 / True Temper Project X 7.0

– Milled Grind Wedges / 48°, 54° & 60°/ True Temper Project X 6.5

– TP5x Golf Ball / #22