Tuesday 16 January 2018

McIlroy: 'Trophy win more important than $10m prize'

Rory McIlroy is looking to win the FedEx Cup to salvage a season marred by injury
Rory McIlroy is looking to win the FedEx Cup to salvage a season marred by injury
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Rory McIlroy cares more about adding the FedEx Cup to his golfing CV than the $10 million dollar bonus he could earn by winning the Tour Championship at East Lake on Sunday.

McIlroy sees this PGA Tour finale as a last chance to snatch some glory out of a season which looked set for greatness in May when he won twice in America, but then fizzled out following his ankle ligament rupture in July.

The money? He doesn't have to worry about cash.

At the tender age of 26, McIlroy already has more than he can spend in a couple of lifetimes.

'Golf Digest Ireland' estimated that in 2014 alone, he had on- and off-course earnings of $49,183,976, making him third in their top 50 list for that year behind Tiger Woods ($55,110,775) and Phil Mickelson ($50,738,019).

On the PGA Tour this season, despite missing a key part of the season through injury, McIlroy has banked almost $4.7 million.

So when he says the FedEx Cup bonus does not motivate him, he's telling it like it is. Asked about any likely plans he would have if he won the Tour Championship first prize of $1.48 million plus the $10 million bonus, McIlroy replied: "No."

"Luckily, that amount of money sort of doesn't mean that much to me anymore. It will go in the bank and if I want to buy something nice, I will.

"It's nice to think that you could win ten million dollars this week but that's not what excites me.

"It excites me to play well and try to win. The FedEx Cup is one of the only things I haven't put on my golf CV and that would be more exciting to do that rather than walk away with a cheque."


The reality of being a superbly talented and extremely hard-working, charismatic figure in his sport is that for McIlroy, money stopped being an issue a couple of years ago.

His signing of a contract reputed to be worth $100 million dollars over five years with Nike in January, 2013 was an obvious landmark but McIlroy had already banked millions before that.

He can still remember the thrill of his first massive cheque back in October 2007 of €211,322 for finishing third in the Dunhill Links Championship, just weeks after turning professional.

Aged 18 at the time, McIlroy checked his bank balance soon after that tournament and found the Tour had lodged his prize money.

For some time beforehand, he had his eye on an expensive wrist watch but it was way too expensive for a rookie pro.

"It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Obviously at that stage I'd just been a pro for three or four weeks. I'd never seen that amount of money before.

"To think that that was there, and I didn't have a clue about taxes, I didn't have a clue about anything like that, I saw this amount of money, and I was, 'Like, yes, I'm going to get that watch'," he said.

Jason Day, the number one in the FedEx Cup rankings, is, like McIlroy, more concerned about eclipsing the 28 other elite players in the field than he is about the money.

He has seven career wins, five of them this season, and four in the last seven weeks, including the US PGA Championship and last week's BMW Championship.

"I'm just trying to get to my eighth win because when I look at the list of wins I've had, to me personally it feels low," said Day.

The top five in the FedEx rankings - Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson - will all win the Cup and the $10 million bonus is they win the Tour Championship.

They can also win it depending on their own finishing place and that of other contenders.

McIlroy, at 11th, must win the tournament and then needs the placings of the top five players to go his way.

Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell returns to action for the first time since the US PGA Championship in the Porsche European Open at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach in Germany.

McDowell joins Michael Hoey, Damien McGrane, Kevin Phelan, Simon Thornton and Peter Lawrie in the field.

Lawrie got a late, but welcome, sponsor's invitation.

Porsche European Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.0am

Lacoste Ladies Open de France

Live, Sky Sports 4, red button, 2.0pm

Tour Championship

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

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