The worst kept secret in golf was finally announced today as Rory McIlroy was revealed as Nike Golf's newest athlete after signing a multi-year deal.
He was welcomed to the Nike family by a selection of sporting superstars, including Wayne Rooney, Roger Federer and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, who is also in the field for this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
"I chose Nike for a number of reasons," said McIlroy.
"It's a company and a brand that resonates with me. It's young, it's athletic and it's innovative. They are committed to being the best, as am I. Signing with Nike is another step towards living out my dream."
McIlroy will use the new Nike VR_S Covert driver, VR Pro Blade Irons and VR Pro Limited Edition fairway woods.
"The world's first ever cavity-back driver is awesome. I couldn't be more excited about the new kit in my bag," said McIlroy
"As soon as I hit it I knew it was going in the bag straight away."
The 23-year-old will also play with Nike VR Pro wedges and a Nike Method prototype putter. He will use the 20XI golf ball, wear apparel from the Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection and sport new Nike Lunar Control footwear.
"I visited the Oven and I was seriously impressed with both the craftmanship of the Nike club engineers and and also how much R&D and product innovation goes on there. To be honest, I've been blown away by the attention to detail when it comes to product."
The Ulsterman will now look to improve on a record-breaking 2012, which saw him win five tournaments around the world - including his second major at the PGA Championship - top both money lists and receive a host of post-season awards, including PGA and European Tour player of the year accolades.
Cindy Davis, President of Nike Golf, added: "Rory is an extraordinary athlete who creates an enormous excitement with his on-course performance while, at the same time, connecting with fans everywhere.
"He is the epitome of a Nike athlete and is joining the team during the most exciting time in Nike Golf history.
"We are looking forward to partnering with him to take his remarkable career to the next level."
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x