Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Graeme McDowell to become Ulster's richest ever sports star

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland celebrates his birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to force a playoff with Tiger Woods during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 5, 2010 in Thousand Oaks, California.
Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, celebrates winning the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament in sudden death at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Graeme McDowell chips onto the green on the 11th hole during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 5, 2010 in Thousand Oaks, California. McDowell went on to win the playoff with Tiger Woods.

Multi-million dollar man Graeme McDowell has promised himself a 'fantastic Christmas' from his golf treasure trove, with the prospect of more New Year riches to follow.

The Portrush golfer's latest, dramatic $1.2million win in the Tiger Woods tournament took his career earnings to $15million, translating to £9.5million.

He can treble that amount from sponsorship and product endorsements, making him Northern Ireland's richest competing sports star and on course to be our biggest money-maker ever.

Former Grand Prix driver Eddie Irvine, from Conlig, currently tops the rich list with estimated career earnings of £40million and a personal fortune of over £80million from property and stock market investments since leaving the track with four F1 wins to his credit. McDowell's rival for BBC Sports Personality of 2010, Grand National winning jockey AP McCoy, earns an estimated £370,000 a year from racing.

But McDowell (31) has at least another 10 years at the top level in world golf to add to his nine tournament wins, three in the last incredible year, plus his memorable Ryder Cup clinching moment.

His earning potential, off course, has also soared.

McDowell has become hugely marketable, especially in the United States after his US Open win with two more lucrative American deals set to be sealed in the New Year. His two stunning 20 foot putts to deny Tiger Woods a first victory in 13 months made him even bigger box office on US TV.

But with his financial future secure, McDowell insists winning is more important than chasing the dollar.

And he vowed to carry on his relaxed attitude to life, insisting: “It’s going to be a fantastic Christmas. Life’s too short to look over your shoulder — you have to look forward and my glass is always half full rather than half empty.”

That’s rich: big earners in Northern Ireland sport

Eddie Irvine (Motorsport) £40m career earnings

Graeme McDowell (Golf) £9.5m career earnings

Rory McIlroy (Golf) £5.3m career earnings

Darren Clarke (Golf) £6.5m career earnings

Jonny Evans (Football) £1.92m a year

Aaron Hughes (Football) £1.2m a year

Steven Davis (Football) £960,000 a year

Tony McCoy (Horse Racing) £370,000 a year

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