Rory McIlroy will definitely never get a part in any movie with a catchphrase like, ‘Show Me The Money’!
McIlroy has revealed ahead of teeing-up in this week’s mega-millions Tour Championship, just how important it is to him to enrich the lives of those around him rather than feed a mega-million dollar bank account.
A year after playing the role of a silent partner to Tiger Woods in the final round in Atlanta, as Woods emotionally ended a more than five-year victory absence, McIlroy’s got a shot at a $15m bonus pool that is up $5m compared to 2016 when McIlroy won both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
“I guess $15m is always better than $10m,” he said laughing.
“Seriously, who knows what the winner gets at the Masters as I don’t know because that is not what it is about.
“If the FedEx Cup wanted to create a legacy that lasts, then it doesn’t need to be about the money as it should be about the prestige of winning an event that you will be remembered for.
“The money is nice, it’s wonderful and it brings top golfers in line with maybe some of the other sports stars and what they are earning.
“I am not saying money is a bad thing as it does motivate a lot of people but for me and my competitive spirit, I want to win the FedEx Cup for a lot of different reasons.
“Is money one of them? Yeah, as it would be nice to win on Sunday and to win $15m or whatever it is but at the same time, I will get more satisfaction from winning the golf tournament and playing well.”
It led McIlroy to disclosing his charitable side and how he first got the shock in learning how much was in his bank account after just three events as a pro.
“What’s the reason for having so much money if you can’t share it, and make people around you feel better?” he said.
“One of the luxuries in having money is to be able to help others that you love and you can share it around, and it doesn’t always have to be about you and that is cool.”
In fact, McIlroy spoke of his joy in being able to donate ‘quite a bit of money’ to the Cancer Fund for Children in Northern Ireland and a second respite centre in Co. Mayo.
“I donated money for them to finish the first respite centre and also donated money for them to buy the land down at Co. Mayo, and when you go there and see the impact that the facility is having on everyone who works at the facility.”
Then there was that first encounter with an ATM in suburban Belfast.
“I played in the British Masters and in my first event as a pro and finished 42nd and won like £17,000 and the next week I went to the Dunhill and finished third and won about £230,000,” he said.
“I was only 18 at the time and didn’t really know about taxes, but then I went playing in Madrid to finish fourth and won another 50 grand or whatever, and then got home where I went to get money out at an ATM.
“I was only 18 but I had a debit card and put it into the ATM and was asked if I wanted to check my balance, so I checked my balance and thought ‘Oh, woh!’
“I went straight to a jewellery store and bought myself a watch but that was back then.
“Now I feel you always want to be paid fairly for what you want to do, or you want to know what is your worth or your value, and that is still something that means something.
“But at this point of my career, it is not my motivating or driving factor as there is other things I see as important including sacrificing some commercial opportunity so I can win a few more tournaments – I would probably make that sacrifice.
“That would give me more satisfaction than any money in the bank or investment portfolio that I am never going to see or I am never going to use.”
McIlroy tees-up in the PGA Tour season-ending Tour Championship with clear reservations on yet further and somewhat controversial changes to the final event format.
McIlroy, lying fifth in the FedEx Cup standings, will tee-up five shots behind American Justin Thomas who heads the points table on the back of capturing last week’s BMW Championship. JT will start the event at 10-under without even playing a shot
World No.2 Brooks Koepka as the second seed will start at eight-under, the third seed at seven-under, and so on with seeds six to 10 to begin four-under while 11 to 15 will begin at three-under down to seeds 26–30 who will start at even par.
“It’s more the psychology of the new format as I am starting five shots back and we are all creatures of habit, so it seems very different that all us are starting at very different positions,” McIlroy said.
“In the past two Tour Championships, there was those guys ranked 15th to 30th who had the chance to win the Tour Championship but did not have the chance to reel-in the FedEx Cup whereas they have a better chance of that this week.
“I can see a scenario come Sunday that there could be as many as 15 guys having the chance to win the entire thing, so it will be exciting and it will different.”
IRISH TEE TIMES – (Irish time)
Tour Championship – Rory McIlroy – 6.45pm
Scandinavian Masters – Gavin Moynihan – 7am, Paul Dunne – 12.20pm