Having already felt the need to return to one of his old putters, the world number one's 2013 debut could hardly have gone any worse. For him or the company who are paying him a fortune. McIlroy missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by four shots, two rounds of 75 leaving him joint 98th in a field of 126.
"It's very disappointing," he said. "You really want to get off to a nice start at the start of the season, but I've got to realise that it is only the start. As long as I feel like my game is in good shape heading into Augusta (the US Masters on April 11-14) that's all I'm worried about."
On his putter switch between rounds he added: "I just felt like the greens I've been practising on are a lot faster than these.
"The Nike putter is great on that, but getting to here it's just a weight issue more than anything else.
"I've got a few weeks off now to work at it and try and get my game in decent shape for the US.
"I knew it was going to be a tough week with everything going on (only last Monday was his multi-million pound Nike deal unveiled in a glitzy ceremony).
"I was just looking forward to getting to the golf course and getting back to what I do and what I'm comfortable with.
"It just didn't work out like that. I hit the ball really well last week in practice in Dubai and just sort of gradually got worse this week for some reason.
"But I'm going to spend the weekend here and work at it with Michael (coach Michael Bannon) a little bit."