Rory McIlroy is officially a free agent when it comes to golf equipment.
McIlroy and Acushnet Co., which has supplied the 23-year-old star from Northern Ireland with Titleist and FootJoy gear since he turned pro five years ago, said Tuesday they will not extend their relationship after this year.
The announcement allows McIlroy to pursue a lucrative endorsement contract, with strong indications that he will sign with Nike in a deal that one industry observer estimated at $20 million a year. That would give Nike golf's two biggest stars in McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who has been with the swoosh since he turned pro in 1996.
McIlroy has established himself as the No. 1 player in the world this year, when he won four times and captured the PGA Championship at Kiawah, giving him eight-shot wins in two major championships. He won the PGA Tour money title, and is closing in on winning the European Tour money title.
This is the second time in the last 10 years that Acushnet, which has a h...