Rory McIlroy sends kind message to Nike workers after company pulls out of making golf equipment
Nike's decision to pull out of golf equipment manufacture leaves four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and former world number one Tiger Woods in the market for new clubs.
The company will continue to invest in developing footwear and clothing for the golf market but will "transition out" of making clubs, balls and bags.
Three years ago McIlroy signed a 10-year deal with Nike worth a reported £150million, while 14-time major winner Woods has been their brand leader in the sport since 1996.
Nike also sponsors Michelle Wie, one of the LPGA Tour's high-profile players.
"Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide," said Nike Golf president Daric Ashford.
"We'll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game."
Last year sales at Nike's golf unit fell, for the third successive year, by eight per cent to £531million which contributed to the decision to pull out of the equipment market.
However, Nike brand president Trevor Edwards said: "We're committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel.
"We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf."
McIlroy responded to the news on Twitter.
"Sad for @nikegolf employees that worked so hard and made genuinely great golf equipment. Your support will always be appreciated #TeamNike" he wrote.