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January 2, 2013

New gear in a new year

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Nick Watney was in the local Honolua Store at Kapalua earlier this week when he saw a familiar face and quickly placed his hand over his chest, covering up the swoosh on his shirt. Add that to the files of worst-kept secrets.

Nike made it official Tuesday with separate announcements that it has signed Watney and Kyle Stanley to equipment deals. Both had been with Titleist.

The biggest Nike acquisition in the offseason, off course, was Rory McIlroy. Nike will make that announcement in Abu Dhabi, where McIlroy will start his season in a couple of weeks. It also landed S.Y. Noh of South Korea.

The bigger surprises were Stewart Cink, who in October said he had one year left on his Nike deal, switching over to TaylorMade. Also going to TaylorMade were former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (formerly Nike), Ryan Moore (formerly Adams Golf) and John Huh, who had been playing Ping last year but didn’t have an endorsement until well after he won the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.

Chris Kirk and Gary Woodland (both formerly Titleist) are headed to Callaway.

Watney will be using a high-speed cavity back driver and Nike VR Pro Combo irons, a similar look to the AP2 irons he used at Titleist. Stanley is using blades.

World money list: Rory McIlroy is atop the world money list published each year in the “The World of Professional Golf,” the comprehensive golf annual that was started by IMG founder Mark McCormack. The list includes money earned from every golf tournament, even unofficial events such as the Father-Son Challenge and PGA Grand Slam.

McIlroy’s five wins included the PGA Championship and two FedEx Cup playoff events. He finished with $11,301,228.

Justin Rose was No. 2 with $7,897,818, even though he won only once on the PGA Tour at the Cadillac Championship at Doral. Rose also won the Turkish Airways World Golf Final, the medal-match exhibition that attracted a world-class field of eight players. Rose beat Lee Westwood in the final match to earn $1.5 million.

Tiger Woods, with three wins, was at No. 3 with $7,388,061. He was followed by Luke Donald (three wins) and Louis Oosthuizen (two wins).

Rounding out the top 10 were Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Westwood, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley. Watson (Masters) and Bradley (Bridgestone Invitational) were the only players in the top 10 who had only one win last year.

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