Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy: £6.6m doesn't mean much to me, it's playing to win that counts now

By Claire McNeilly

For most of us, £6.6m is the sort of eye-watering sum we could only dream of winning in the Lottery.

It would take the average Northern Ireland toiler over 300 YEARS to earn that amount.

But it's clearly loose change to Rory McIlroy.

Our multi-Major winning golfer has raised eyebrows by declaring that the staggering seven-figure bonuses up for grabs in big tournaments mean little to him - and added that it has been eight years since he's shown any real interest in what anything costs.

The 26-year-old Co Down man has earned more than £18.3m in prize money since he turned professional, and twice that amount in off-course endorsements and sponsorships.

But, as one of the wealthiest sports people in the world, he is long past the stage where cash occupies his thoughts.

When asked about the $10m (£6.6m) bonus for the winner of this weekend's PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, Holywood native McIlroy admitted that, in his eyes, it didn't count as much of an incentive.

"Luckily, that amount of money doesn't sort of mean much to me any more," he told reporters at the East Lake Golf Club.

"It will go in the bank and if I want to buy something nice, I will. I mean, like, it's nice to think that you could win $10m this week, but that's not what excites me.

"It excites me to play well and to try and win."

Despite his fabulous wealth Mclroy is not prone to making outrageous purchases.

Unlike other mega-rich golfers, he doesn't own a private jet, and although his six-bedroom, nine-bathroom mansion in Jupiter, Florida, set him back a cool £6.2m, that's modest for a man of his means, and the property doesn't stand out from others in the neighbourhood.

Rory is also a lover of fast, expensive cars such as the Lamborghini Aventador (left) and BMW i8, but his myriad of sponsorship deals means he doesn't actually have to buy them, just be seen driving them.

The last thing he had to check his funds for before buying was a watch, back in 2007.

That year he won £211,322 on the European Tour, which is miniscule compared with what he earns now, but for this son of a Holywood barman, it meant a lot more then.

"I wanted this watch and went to the ATM to check my balance; it was £220,000," said McIlroy.

"I went straight to the store and bought the watch. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

"But, obviously, at that stage I had just been a pro three or four weeks, I had never seen that amount of money before.

"At that point I didn't have a clue about taxes or a clue about anything like that. I just saw this amount of money and I was like, yes, I'm going to get this watch."

McIlroy, who is currently dating American Erica Stoll, added: "These days, we're playing for over a million dollars every week. We're in such a fortunate position and I think everyone on Tour realises that.

"The majority of the guys that are out here know that their kids will be OK, their kids can go to college, their kids will probably be OK as well.

"So to be able to set up the next couple of generations of your family for a nice life, it's very fortunate and very privileged that we're able to do that."

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