Dubai - Jumeirah Group has announced that it is not renewing its five-year sponsorship deal with top ranked Rory McIlroy, ahead of an expected announcement that he will sign with Nike next week.

The United Arab Emirates hotel group signed a five-year deal with McIlroy when he was only 18 and was one of his first corporate sponsors.

Jumeirah's announcement allows McIlroy to pursue a lucrative endorsement contract, with strong indications that he will sign with Nike in a deal that one industry observer estimated at $20 million (R172 million) a year.

That would give Nike golf's two biggest stars in McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who has been with the sportswear company since he turned pro in 1996. - Sapa-AP