Nike miss "a golden opportunity" with Rory McIlroy ahead of the Olympics

The four-time major winner will be competing in Rio later this year

ireland, golf, rio 2016, rory mcilroy, olympics, pat hickey

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey has said that Nike had missed out on a brilliant chance to have their logo on Rory McIlroy during the Olympics.

McIlroy signed a "multi-year" deal with Nike in 2013 worth well over nine-figures, but will not be allowed wear their clothes during the Olympic Games.

The Irish Olympic Council have signed a deal with American company New Balance, to kit out the team, but Hickey has told the Irish Examiner that Nike missed out on the opportunity to have their clothes on one of their most famous stars.

"Before Rory decided whether he’d declare for Team GB or Ireland, we put our team gear out to contract. Just in case he declared for us, we went to Nike in the UK and told them we might have Rory. But they just dismissed us out of hand and now they regret it, I believe."

Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

The American giant will be one of the most recognisable brands at the games with hosts Brazil, USA, China and Germany among the nations wearing Nike gear. Some countries will use numerous companies for different sports, but the OCI has an exclusive deal with New Balance.

"I’m told that the Nike guys nearly collapsed when they heard what happened and that they’d missed a golden opportunity. Rory’s agent came to us and said, 'What about Nike?' And I said, 'What about them? They had the opportunity and they missed it.'"

Hickey added that McIlroy will have to wear the same uniform as every other member of the team. All athletes must wear the official kit, whether or not they have separate endorsement deals.

"The situation is he must wear a New Balance cap, shirt, top, trousers, and accessories, such as the belt and sunglasses. But the colour is tone on tone. So if it’s a blue shirt, it is a blue NB emblem."

The Olympic tournament takes place between August 11th and 14th.