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New clubs set back McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

World number one Rory McIlroy made the headlines two weeks ago when he signed a lucrative $100m sponsorship deal with sports manufacturer Nike – an agreement that effectively secures the Northern Irishman’s status as the hottest property in golf right now.

Unfortunately for McIlroy, new sponsors means a new kit bag and the 23-year-old had little time to get used to his Nike clubs before heading east to the Abu Dhabi Championship, where proceedings did not go according to plan.

McIlroy, along with Tiger Woods, failed to make the cut during his first big tournament with the new clubs. He carded a three-over-par 65 on his first round – a rut started when he sliced his tee shot off the 15th, chipped into the rough and then missed a five-yard putt.

A day later and he again hit 75 to finish six over and ignominiously retire in stark contrast to his explosive entrance just two days earlier.

“I’m very disappointed. You never want to get off to a poor start, but I’ve got to realise it’s only the start of the season,” he said, and has gone on to confirm he will take a month break from golf.

Indeed, McIlroy is right to be disappointed after failing to live up to the standards he set himself last year with his -13 victory at the PGA Championship. That second major effectively secured his status amid punters golf betting with bet365 as the best golfer in the world and he was expected to make headways in early 2013.

Yet these new clubs have clearly made a negative impact on his game and McIlroy is right to take a four-week break to get used to the equipment that should earn him another major this year. The Northern Irishman still has many years ahead of him and must keep a steady course in 2013 so as to avoid further criticism.

For with Nike on board there are people who are relying on McIlroy to keep up his game and this young golfer must live up to these expectations in the future.


Filed under: Stuff From John

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