Top Rory McIlroy Cards
Not since Tiger Woods has a golfer entered the PGA with as much hype and promise as Rory McIlroy. With his victory at the 2014 British Open, the Irish golfer has three majors before his 26th birthday. This excitement has carried over into the hobby with Rory McIlroy cards drawing plenty of attention despite the fact that golf doesn't have nearly the widespread appeal as baseball and football.
Upper Deck signed McIlroy to an exclusive deal in 2012. As a result, they're the only company that can produce official Rory McIlroy cards as long as the deal is in place.
Below we've listed some of the most popular Rory McIlroy cards. We tried to stick to cards that aren't extremely rare or parallels. Click on the listings or images to shop for cards on eBay.
Key Rory McIlroy Cards
The first Rory McIlroy card came inserted in the November, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids. Because they were included on a sheet of nine cards, edges are perforated. While regarded by most as an oddball card, its importance shouldn't be understated.
Upper Deck signed Rory McIlroy to a deal not long before 2012 SP Game Used Golf was released. Rather than include an official rookie card in the base set, they went with a specially numbered short print insert. This is the first Rory McIlroy card to find its way into traditional packs. It's a tough find, landing 1:72 packs in the high-end product.
Upper Deck has a long history of rewarding its employees with exclusive cards. In 2013 it was a set of six Purple Precious Metal Gems cards featuring athletes from several sports. Rory McIlroy was one of them. The card comes numbered to 125. The unique distribution and connection to the PMG name has made it very popular.
2013 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions was the first mainstream product to have a Rory McIlroy card. Distributed via redemption, it's a tough find. Not helping matters is the fact that it's a Group A short print, the rarest cards on the autograph checklist. Rather than a traditional photo, the image is a painted rendition of the golfer. McIlroy also has a Sports Royalty Autograph in the product that is easier to pull.
If you're looking for a tough Rory McIlroy card that doesn't have an autograph or memorabilia swatch, 2013 Upper Deck Infinite might be for you. In order to get packs of Upper Deck Infinite, you have to register for a special credit card that offers them as a reward like Air Miles. McIlroy has three different cards in the set.
Exquisite has made some of the most valuable modern cards in the hobby and their first foray into golf has not changed the end result. An on-card signature, tournament-used relic and limited print run makes this the Rory McIlroy rookie card that will become the benchmark for high-end golf collectors. Early sales of this 2014 Exquisite Golf rookie card have reached $2,000.
When it comes to Rory McIlroy rookie cards, expect to pay. Each of them released by Upper Deck comes with an autograph, which may put them out of the price range of many collectors. Numbered to 299, the 2014 SP Authentic Rory McIlroy is his most plentiful. It also comes with strong brand recognition. McIlroy has several cards, including autographs, in 2014 SP Authentic Golf but this one should be the most iconic over the long-term.
There are some pros and cons when you compare this card to McIlroy's SP Authentic rookie. On the plus side, the 2014 SP Game Used Rory McIlroy rookie card is rarer, numbered to just 199 copies. It also has a piece of shirt worn by McIlroy. On the cons, the signature is on a sticker. Also, SP Game Used doesn't quite have the brand recognition as SP Authentic. That said, this card isn't cheap nor will it ever be.
Inked Drivers are on of the most unique autograph cards not only in golf, but the entire hobby. They use a faux driver face as the signature spot. Similar to baseball's Sweet Spot Signatures, the look is distinct and connects directly to the sport. Besides the basic version, McIlroy has several parallel Inked Driver Autographs that have different colored plates and are numbered.