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Volume 24 No. 114
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Faldo, Nicklaus Say McIlroy's Nike Deal, Off-Course Endeavors Having Negative Impact

CBS' Nick Faldo thinks golfer Rory McIlroy's "slump can be pinned to an equipment change" after he left Acushnet for a deal with Nike, according to Randy King of the ROANOKE TIMES. Faldo said, "Rory very simply messed with a winning formula. He went from rookie of the year to world No. 1 and been through a lot and thought he could start again." He added, "As I said from Day One, I tweeted right away when it was announced that this was a dangerous move. I won't get into all the -- people said, 'Oh, he's so talented, he can adapt.' Well, why should the world No. 1 be adapting to something new? As we discovered six months later, he's busy still trying putters, still trying drivers. It's not as easy" (ROANOKE TIMES, 7/4). Meanwhile, Golf HOFer Jack Nicklaus said that McIlroy's "various off-course pursuits are affecting his on-course performance." Nicklaus cited both the "demands on McIlroy's time as a result of winning two major championships as well as the reported nine-figure endorsement contract he signed with Nike earlier this year." Nicklaus: "He's been sort of doing other things, and now he's back wanting to play golf again, and he's struggling" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 7/3).

IRISH EYES NOT SMILING: In Ireland, Gary Murphy wrote McIlroy is a "pale shadow of himself." His game is "completely out of synch and it's hard to see where his next win is coming from." Murphy: "I strongly believe McIlroy has taken his eye off the ball, not just slightly, but massively, on and off the course. I struggle to understand the rationale behind his proposed split with Horizon Sports Management." It also is "clear he has struggled with his clubs since signing" with Nike (IRISHMIRROR.ie, 7/4).