When Rory McIlroy sank golf’s most lucrative putt at the weekend, he became one half of what is possibly sport’s wealthiest couple.
McIlroy’s £1.25m jackpot from the Shanghai Masters will help put his final earnings for the year towards eight figures, nor far ahead of the millions being gathered by his glamorous girlfriend, tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki.
Combining their new-found wealth, the 22-year-old and the 21-year-old world women’s No1 player, have had the sports agents salivating over their mega-earning potential. According to some pundits, ‘Wozzilroy’ as Rory has dubbed them, could make up to 50% more as a couple than as individuals.
The Holywood lad has already brought in about £9m in prize money since taking the golf world by storm.
And totting up the prize fund for this year alone, thanks to those profitable wins in Shanghai and the US Masters in June, world No3 Rory could see his income top £9.5m this year alone. Not too far behind him, Caroline has earned about £6.5m during her career so far, alothough the tally for this year is thought to be in the region of some £8m.
The young couple’s appeal could soar to heights even greater than the only other sporting couple with the earning potential to rival theirs — Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and her fiance, Sasha Vujacic, a basketball player on a £3m-a-year contract in the US.
Some say Wozzilroy, with Wozniacki — the ninth most marketable athlete in the world — and McIlroy, rated 21st, are the hotter ticket.
Nigel Currie, of the sports agency, Brand Rapport, values their joint profitability as 50% higher than as stand-alone sporting stars.
“Suddenly, lifestyle and fashion magazines will be interested in McIlroy because he is Wozniacki’s boyfriend, when they would never have shown an interest in a golfer,” he said.
Rory and Caroline are each at their peak and could occupy lofty earning positions for up to 10 years, Currie believes.
Romance across the sporting arenas: