RORY McIlroy could be worth a staggering £100m by the end of the decade if he stays at the pinnacle of world golf.
He has already amassed tens of millions but could see that figure soar in endorsements and sponsorship.
PR guru Max Clifford believes the 22-year-old could soon be one of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world — provided he stays out of trouble.
“If he continues to play golf the way he does with the success he does and sticks clear of any major scandals or problems, ie Tiger Woods, then I would say in the next 10 years he could comfortably make £100m,” said Mr Clifford.
“Golf is such a lucrative sport and everybody wants to see the top players.
“Apart from the huge prizes for winning, there’s also huge sponsorship and endorsements so, providing he stays playing the golf as well as he is and keeps clear of any major personal disasters, then that’s the kind of money he could earn.”
Rory’s victory at the Honda Classic in Florida brought with it the realisation of his boyhood dream to be the world’s best golfer and leaves him on course to emulate Tiger Woods by becoming the next golfing billionaire
Indeed, if he can triumph at the forthcoming Masters at Augusta in Georgia — where he had a public meltdown last year — his money-making potential will most definitely rocket.
The Co Down golfer’s long list of lucrative brands already include Dubai's Jumeirah Hotel and Resort Group, Titleist golf equipment, EA Sports computer games, Footjoy golf shoes, Oakley clothing, Lough Erne Resort and Audemars Piguet watches.
But that list could grow as his boyish charm, outgoing nature and squeaky-clean image could transform him into a marketing dream.
Money is not, however, a main motivator for Rory, who said he doesn’t intend to relinquish the number one spot without a fight.
“I'd like to stay there for a while,” he said.
“As long as I keep playing good golf and have chances to win tournaments, then hopefully I'll stay up there. I feel the way I'm playing at the minute, the level of consistency, hopefully I'm going to be able to stay there for a while.”
He said his girlfriend, the former World No 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, has had a “great influence” on his game.
Rory recently told a magazine: “I feel a lot different. I might be a little more focused on what I'm doing. I'm working harder than ever.”
Golfing legend Greg Norman — who spent 331 weeks as World No 1 — said that Caroline is “probably the best partner” for Rory.
“For the two of them to be respectively going through their careers at this young age doing the same thing in the highest possible echelon, there's no better partner to have sitting beside you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rory’s ex and childhood sweetheart Holly Sweeney has tweeted congratulations to her former boyfriend.