Friday 2 December 2016

Wozzilroy fortune in on course for love match

Published 02/11/2011 | 05:00

Golfing hero Rory McIlroy and
girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki
in Shanghai yesterday
Golfing hero Rory McIlroy and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Shanghai yesterday

Right now, neither needs to worry where the next Porsche or Ferrari will come from. But that won't matter to "Wozzilroy", who only have eyes for each other.

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"Money can't buy me love," sang the Beatles, but in the case of Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki, young love can buy you multi-millions of euro in endorsement income.

Mr McIlroy (22) and Danish tennis star Ms Wozniacki (21) are now sport's new 'Golden Couple' as their romance continues to flourish.

The women's world number one was on hand to watch Mr McIlroy claim the first prize of €1.43m in the limited-field Shanghai Masters on Sunday, taking his on-course earnings to over €5.5m already this year.

Ms Wozniacki has banked over €3m from playing tennis in 2011 but, just like Mr McIlroy, that's only part of the story.

"Wozzilroy", as Mr McIlroy has dubbed the couple, can individually expect to double their year's earnings through sponsorship and endorsement money, but together they are even more marketable.

Showbiz

As long as their love-in lasts, they are a brand, and that's good for business.

David Beckham and the then Victoria Adams -- 'Posh Spice' of the Spice Girls -- broke the mould when they first crossed the divide between sports and showbiz in the mid-1990s.

Mr McIlroy and Ms Wozniacki can have a similar effect because their combined appeal broadens beyond the parameters of their respective sports.

As "Wozzilroy", it will be about more than selling golf clubs and tennis racquets.

They exude desirable qualities such as youth, romance, athleticism, and success that can be artfully utilised to present blue-chip companies in the best light possible.

Estimates of their 2011 income from all sources are €14m for Ms Wozniacki and around €12m for Mr McIlroy.

Jointly marketed, they could boost the endorsement part of their income by 50pc in the coming years, according to marketing experts.

They will have to play out the romance under the glare of paparazzi flash bulbs and to find time for each other in their globe-trotting playing schedules, but that won't be too big a problem.

First-class travel, and private jet hire, if required, can shorten any journey when love comes calling.

The fascination can only increase over the coming years as they each chase something the other already has -- Ms Wozniacki covets a major title in tennis, while Mr McIlroy wants to be world number one in golf.

Plenty there to fill the news, features and sport sections of newspapers and to keep the entertainment websites buzzing with the latest gossip. And the paparazzi won't starve, either.

Meanwhile, it was back to business for Mr McIlroy in Shanghai where yesterday he came face to face with his former manager Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, whom he dumped in favour of Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management .

Mr Chandler was on the practice ground while Mr McIlroy was tuning up for the $7m (€5.09m) World Golf Championship HSBC Champions event, which starts tomorrow.

The major winner and the agent had not seen each other since the former shocked golf by dumping the latter a fortnight go, but their reunion was less daggers at dawn and more friends reunited.

In slightly surreal scenes, their meeting was 'papped' for posterity.

Jokes

"We've both already moved on," said Mr Chandler, yesterday. "We shared a laugh and a couple of jokes, had a chat and were fine, just like I'd knew we would be. I wish Rory nothing but the best and he knows that."

Mr Chandler congratulated Mr McIlroy on his win at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.

The largest first prize in golf -- £1.25m (€1.45m) -- would have represented a substantial percentage for International Sports Management, but instead the spoils (somewhere approaching £100,000 (€116,000) went to the new agency, Horizon.

Yesterday, Conor Ridge, the proud owner of the burgeoning Dublin firm, was in Shanghai to watch Mr McIlroy alongside the world number one -- no, not Luke Donald, but Ms Wozniacki, the tennis-playing Dane who flew in on Monday to join her boyfriend.

This is the first time the Dane has been to an event to support her beau, though Mr McIlroy has been to several tennis tournaments with her.

If the young maestro maintains his winning form this week, he can further boost his bank balance with the winner's cheque of €842,217.

Ranked second in the European Tour's Race to Dubai ranking list, Mr McIlroy wants to displace leader Mr Donald before the season ends.

Irish Independent

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