Rory McIlroy set tongues wagging at Royal Portrush today when he turned up for his pre-Open press conference wearing a blue hoodie with a large patched compass logo on the sleeve.
Immediately, tongues started wagging.
Who does this mysterious logo belong to? Has Rory dropped Nike in favour of a new apparel deal? What’s the significance of this?
Let us attempt to break down the answers one by one...
Who does this mysterious logo belong to?
Stone Island. An Italian high-end men’s apparel brand from Raverino, it was founded in 1982 by Massimo Osti and, according to recent figures, has a revenue of roughly €90m per year. It is part of Carlo Rivetti’s Sportswear Company.• Record-breaking crowd to attend Open this week
Its compass logo, which affixes to the upper sleeve of the left arm of its products, is the company’s calling card.
The brand has become notorious as the ‘outfitter of choice’ for the football casual and has been seen in many football hoolganism based films, most notably The Football Factory.
It has also become increasingly popular in hip-hop culture, helped in small part by its popularity with Canadian rapper Drake.
Has Rory dropped Nike in favour of a new apparel deal?
In a word, no.
Nike and Stone Island have collaborated on a variety of clothing lines in the recent past and this appears to be their latest partnership.
The Nike x Stone Island golf collaboration went live on the Nike website right as Rory sat down in the media centre.
Each of its two pieces - a jacket and crew neck – are built on a pattern that optimises range of motion through a swing and incorporates golf-specific utility pockets for balls, tees and gloves… and Rory loves it.
“The Nike x Stone Island collaboration is a perfect combination of style and performance,” he said. “As an athlete, it’s important that my apparel can comfortably handle the conditions of any course at any time. This collection will allow me to be prepared for the unpredictable climate of Northern Ireland but also sport a look that appeals to my personal style.”
What’s the significance of this?
It’s relatively significant and another example of Rory’s value to Nike. With this week’s Open taking place in his native Northern Ireland for the first time in a decade, all eyes will be on Rory. Literally, millions of people will be watching him. Who better, and what better a time, to launch a new product.
Rory has been used in this way before. Indeed, at last year’s Open Championship, his ‘NASTY’-soled Nike shoes went viral at Carnoustie.
Can I buy it?
What do you think? Two colorways of the jacket (grey and blue) and three of the crew neck (grey, blue and yellow) will be released globally on July 25. No news yet on the prices…