- Associated Press - Sunday, April 7, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Rory McIlroy has signed a new endorsement deal with Swiss watchmaker Omega.

McIlroy, coming off a runner-up finish in the Texas Open for his best finish this year, is the latest brand ambassador for Omega, which has a stable of celebrities that includes Michael Phelps, Greg Norman, Nicole Kidman, George Clooney, Sergio Garcia and Stacy Lewis, who is the No. 1 player in women’s golf.

It is the second partnership McIlroy has signed this year. He announced a similar deal with Bose at the end of February.

“I think it’s a great deal for me,” McIlroy said. “I’ve sort of tried to adopt the strategy that I don’t want a lot of sponsors, but there are a few very big global brands that can reach out to different parts of the world. It’s a great fit.”


Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

McIlroy signed a lucrative contract with Nike that was announced at the start of the year. A spokesman for McIlroy said the deal won’t involve wearing the Omega logo on his apparel.

Rory is one of those golfers who lights up every course he plays on,” Omega president Stephen Urquhart said. “In recent years, he has been golf’s most exciting player and he has already attracted legions of new fans. He’s the sort of golfer who is good for the sport and for its image, and we are all looking forward to seeing how far this extraordinary talent will take him.”

The 23-year-old player from Northern Ireland already has won two majors, setting a scoring record in the 2011 U.S. Open and a record for his eight-shot margin of victory last summer at Kiawah Island in the PGA Championship. He was No. 1 in the world until Tiger Woods replaced him two weeks ago.

McIlroy will have a chance to get back the No. 1 ranking this week at the Masters.

He also delivered three points for Europe when it won the Ryder Cup last year at Medinah, winning his Sunday singles match against Keegan Bradley despite nearly missing his starting time when he lost track of the central time zone.

“I guess I won’t be late now,” McIlroy said with a laugh.

Omega has been making a strong push into golf in recent years, including a deal with the PGA of America that gave it marketing rights at the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup when the matches are played in the United States. It also has been the official timekeeper of the Olympics since 1932.

“They’re trying to expand into golf, and they’ve got some great ambassadors already,” McIlroy said. “I’m delighted to be on board.”