Nike waiting for Godot (Rory)

Rory McIlroy. The man in the middle?

While star signing Rory McIlroy won’t be announced until the week of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on January 14, Nike Golf welcomed two new additions to its stable on New Year’s Day.

Kyle Stanley, who lost all three of his games in the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down, and his American compatriot Nick Watney were officially signed in “multi-year”, head-to-toe deals and will use company’s new VR-S Covert driver at this week’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua.

Both will play Nike clubs through the bag as well as Nike clothing and the Nike 20XI golf ball.

In Stanley’s bag:

Driver:  Nike VR_S Covert 9.5-degree, neutral position

Fairway Wood:  Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree

Irons:  Nike VR Pro Combo (2), VR Pro Blades (3-9)

Wedges: Nike VR Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree

Ball: Nike 20XI X

Apparel:  Nike Golf Tour Performance

Footwear:  Nike Lunar Control II

In Watney’s bag:

Driver:  Nike VR_S Covert 11.5-degree, neutral position

Fairway Wood:  Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood/14-degree and 5-wood/18-degree

Irons:  Nike VR Pro Combo (3-PW)

Wedges: Nike VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree

Putter: Nike Method Prototype

Ball: Nike 20XI

Apparel:  Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection

Footwear:  Nike Lunar Control II

Interestingly, like McIlroy, Stanley used Titleist 712 MB irons to win last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open and will now be switching to another blade.

For the record, here’s what McIlroy used when he won the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November:

Ball: Titleist, Pro V1 x (09)

Shoe: Footjoy

Driver:  Titleist, 913 D3 - 8.5°

1st Fairway Wood: Titleist 913 F-D - 13.5°

2nd Fairway Wood: Titleist 913 F-D - 18°

3 - 9 Iron: Titleist, 712 MB

Pitching Wedge: Titleist, Vokey SM4

Sand Wedge: Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 54°

Lob Wedge: Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 60°

Putter: Titleist, SC GSS

As you might expect, both were fulsome in their praise of their new gear with Stanley claiming 5 percent more ballspeed thanks to his new driver-ball combination.

“I love the equipment,” Stanley said. “I wouldn’t have switched if I didn’t think it was stuff that would take me to the next level….I’ve always been a high speed player. The ball has a little bit of a harder cover and doesn’t spin as much, which will allow me to be more aggressive with my irons.”

The new signings are part of a merry-go-round of equipment changes by leading players, as Rex Hoggard reported for the Golf Channel:

Stanley and Watney appear to be steeping in at Nike for Stewart Cink, who tweeted a photo early Tuesday of his new TaylorMade staff bag with a message “Happy New Year to all.” Lucas Glover also left Nike for TaylorMade, which signed John Huh and Ryan Moore as well.

Chris Kirk joined the action tweeting that he was joining the Callaway Golf staff – as did Gary Woodland – and news was expected this week that Masters champion Bubba Watson had signed an endorsement deal with Oakley.

Nike has also signed the Korean talent Noh Seung-Yul.