McIlroy, Woods need to find new clubs

Nike has pulled out of the golf equipment manufacturing business, leaving Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in the market for new clubs.

The company confirmed on Thursday that while it would continue to produce footwear and clothing for the golf market, it will "transition out" of making clubs, balls and bags.

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, signed a lucrative 10-year deal with the company three years ago. His switch to Nike clubs caused a great deal of controversy at the time, as it coincided with a dip in form.

The Northern Irishman responded to the news on Twitter:

Former World No 1 Woods, meanwhile, has been the face of Nike's golf brand since 1996.

In the women's game, Michelle Wie is also endorsed by the company.

"Athletes like Tiger, Rory and Michelle drive tremendous energy for the game and inspire consumers worldwide," said Nike Golf president Daric Ashford.

"We'll continue to ignite excitement with our athletes and deliver the best of Nike for the game."

The decision to pull out of the market appears to be driven by a third successive year of declining sales, but Nike brand president Trevor Edwards said footwear and apparel will remain a big focus for the company.

"We're committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel," he said.

"We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf."