Just over six months have passed since Rory McIIroy signed a lucrative £100 million, ten year deal with Nike and in the process becoming one of the most valuable sportsmen on the planet.
A deal set to propel McIlroy from his two major wins into further success and worldwide stardom. But it hasn't been quite as simple as he would have dreamed in January.
With such sponsorship deals comes the requirement to use the equipment of the brand in question. Before he knew it, a whole brand new bag of Nike golf clubs were quickly by his side.
His once tried and trusted clubs that helped made him become the player he is today were quickly pushed aside with McIIroy seemingly confident it wouldn't change a thing.
As McIIroy prepares for the Open championship at Muirfield he has failed to pick up a single tour win since the switch and struggled to make the cut at many of the tournaments he’s played in since. The switch in clubs has caused more problems than he anticipated.
Only recently has he admitted publicly that the new clubs affected how he played the game and that he went into tournaments without the practice such a change required.
At his last major outing he finished 41st at 14-over par breaking one of his Nike irons in the process; a stark difference from the same event in 2011 where he set a new US Open record of 16 under par.
Recently, Nick Faldo blamed the high profile girlfriend in Caroline Wozniacki for getting Rory off his game and more interested in other things away from the course. This is hard to believe given the support such partners provide to many sports stars.
There’s no getting away from the change in mind set and confidence Rory suffered by no longer having his trusty clubs in his hand.
The Ulsterman claims he's happy with life and feeling confident about his game. Nobody can be sure how Rory is really feeling as he prepares to challenge for the claret jug but we do know that form is temporary and class is permanent.
It can only be a matter of time before everything clicks and we see his raw talent shine back though and add to his major haul.
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