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Rory McIlroy swooshes Titleist aside

Rory McIlroy Northern Irelwatches his drive from first tee during second round U.S. Open Championship golf tournament BethesdMd. Friday June

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his drive from the first tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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Rory McIlroy is a free agent when it comes to golf equipment.

McIlroy and Acushnet Co., which has supplied the 23-year-old star with Titleist and FootJoy equipment since he turned pro in 2007, said Tuesday they will not extend their relationship after this year.

Acushnet chief executive Wally Uihlein says McIlroy has been a great ambassador for the equipment over the last five years, when he won two majors by eight shots and has established himself as No. 1 in the world. In a statement, McIlroy thanked the company for “helping me become the player I am today.”

There are strong indications that McIlroy will sign with Nike for what one industry observer estimated to be upward of $20 million a year. A Nike official said the company would not comment on rumors and speculation.

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