The 23-year-old Northern Irishman who has won two major championships, compared with Woods' 14, will be the recipient of a deal reported by various media sources to be worth more than $200 million, CNN said Monday.
"When Tiger Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant in 2009, [Chief Executive Officer] Phil Knight of Nike described it as a minor blip. Tiger hasn't won a major [tournament] since then and his public reputation hasn't recovered to where it once was. They [Nike] now have a global golf business without a credible brand spokesman," said Simon Chadwick, professor of sports business strategy and marketing at England's Coventry University.
McIlroy's deal with Nike will make him the highest-paid young sports star in the world, CNN said.
Woods has remained in the Nike lineup of sports stars. He and McIlroy will next compete Thursday at the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi.