Rory McIlroy needs new clubs - Nike is cutting most of its golf business

Tiger Wood's agent has confirmed that he will be looking for a new brand to work with

Rory McIlroy needs new clubs - Nike is cutting most of its golf business

Mike Groll / AP

Nike says that it will step back from making gear for golfers. The US firm says that it will "accelerate innovation" in golf apparel and footwear - but it will stop making clubs and balls.

Last year the company's golf sales fell by 8% to $706m - that was the third year in a row of declining sales.

The company has invested considerable amounts in developing its golf brand, including a $100m sponsorship deal with Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.

It is unclear what time frame the company has set to reallocate its resources.

PA

Nike has had no major winners in the last eight marquee tournaments.

It faces increasing competition from Under Armour, the Baltimore firm who sponsor US golfer Jordan Spieth, he was last year's top-ranking golfer.

Golf is the smallest component of Nike's overall business, generating 3% of its total revenue.

Trevor Edwards, the Nike brand president said, "We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel."

Rival Adidas announced plans to sell off parts of its golf business in May.

Putting

Former PGA Championship winner Rich Beem spoke to Off the Ball last week - he said that McIlroy could benefit from a club change:

"He's got to change something and I think he's got to go back... try and think about how he putted when he was a kid and don't always think about the mechanical part of it, think about the feel, think about the touch, have fun putting again because he gets over it and he just doesn't look comfortable or confident," Beem told Newstalk, before sharing the story of bumping into McIlroy last week.

"I did see something. His locker was right across from mine during the week and he came in on one of the days. He'd just gotten a brand new Scotty Cameron putter which looked exactly like the one he won with at the US Open in Congressional and I said 'can I see it?' I said 'man, that thing is pretty' and he goes 'yeah, isn't it?'"

"I could see this gleam in his eye, like he really wanted to take it out and hit it on the putting green and yet I don't think he did because of contractual obligations. But you kind of feel bad for the guy that's locked in to a contract with a manufacturer," he continued.

Golf.com spoke to Tiger Woods's agent, Mark Steinberg, he confirmed that the golfer will be looking for a new club manufacturer and that they had been aware this this announcement was coming but that his client will continue to be a "Nike icon."