They really, really like each other. Just not enough to continue working together. For Immediate Release...
ACUSHNET COMPANY AND RORY McILROY ANNOUNCEMENT
Fairhaven, MA (October 30, 2012) - Acushnet Company, which manufactures the Titleist and FootJoy brands, and Rory McIlroy, jointly announced today that McIlroy's relationship with Acushnet will not extend beyond December 31, 2012. McIlroy has trusted Titleist and FootJoy equipment throughout his professional career that commenced as an 18-year old in September 2007.
"Our goal has been to provide Rory with the best equipment and service that would help him be the best player he could possibly be," said Wally Uihlein, Chief Executive Officer, Acushnet Company. "He has been a great ambassador for the Titleist and FootJoy brands, and in turn, we are proud of how our equipment has contributed to his success. We wish Rory all the best, both personally and professionally, going forward."
"I would like to thank Wally Uihlein and all of the tour staff and employees at Titleist and FootJoy for everything they have done for me since I turned professional in 2007,” said McIlroy. "I have enjoyed five very exciting and successful years with the company and I will always appreciate the contribution Titleist has made in helping me become the player I am today.”
This is not a huge surprise given Acushnet's tradition of not severely overpaying one player to use their stuff (Davis Love exempted). But the mutual statement is unusual.
Even as McIlroy was getting courted by other companies, Titleist did not put up a big fight. The company has a history of putting the brand before the player, as it did with Woods, Mickelson, David Duval after he reached No. 1 in the world and Sergio Garcia.
It prides itself on having the most tour players use its golf ball, though it also has some 80 players around the world under contract to use its golf balls and golf clubs. This year might have been particularly costly, however, especially with incentive clauses in the contracts. It had six players from the top 16 in the world as full staff players – McIlroy, Adam Scott, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker and Nick Watney.
**John Strege on Nick Faldo calling McIlroy's club switch "dangerous" during a "Morning Drive" appearance Tuesday.
"I've changed clubs and changed equipment, and every manufacturer will say, 'We can copy your clubs, we can tweak the golf ball so it fits you.' But there's feel and sound as well, and there's confidence. You can't put a real value on that. It's priceless."