McIlroy's deal comes to end

Rory McIlroy's path to a new lucrative sponsorship deal has been cleared after Jumeirah Group announced it was not renewing a five-year deal with the world No 1.

The global luxury hotel company based in the United Arab Emirates signed up McIlroy when he was 18, becoming one of his first corporate sponsors.

McIlroy has been linked with Nike for some time with industry observers estimating that he could secure a deal worth $20million (12.4m) per year.

That would give Nike two of golf's biggest stars as the multinational sportswear manufacturer has been backing Tiger Woods since he turned professional in 1996.

"We are extremely proud of Rory's rise to the No 1 spot with Jumeirah as his principal sponsor since he turned professional. We are delighted with his consistent support of Jumeirah hotels and resorts around the world," said Jumeirah Group president and CEO Gerald Lawless.

McIlroy said: "Jumeirah became my first corporate sponsor when I turned professional back in 2007, and I would like to thank everyone at the company for their support in helping me become the player I am today.

"I have enjoyed five very exciting and successful years with Jumeirah and will always have great memories of my time with the company. Celebrating my first professional win at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic with the Jumeirah team was a particular highlight."