DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is photographed by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki as he poses with both the Race To Dubai and DP World Tour Championship trophies after winning the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 25, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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