Rory McIlroy on money, life-changing checks he has earned and what he bought

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Rory McIlroy on money, life-changing checks he has earned and what he bought

Golf

Rory McIlroy on money, life-changing checks he has earned and what he bought

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ATLANTA – During his commute to East Lake Golf Club, Rory McIlroy was listening to J. Cole’s “Middle Child.”

While the slow jam with heavy bass was no doubt one of many songs chosen Wednesday morning as McIlroy prepares to compete in the Tour Championship this week, it served as an ode to McIlroy’s philosophy when it comes to money and success.

“(Middle Child) talks about flying first class, but what does it mean if you can’t have the people that you want with you flying the same way, or whatever it is,” McIlroy said. “So I think that’s one of the luxuries of having money is that you can help others that you love, and you can share it around, and it doesn’t all just have to be about you. That’s the cool thing.”

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McIlroy, who has been active in philanthropic ventures, has put the opinion he shares with J. Cole into action over his career. One of the most well-known examples of McIlroy’s generosity came in 2016 when he won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. Out of the lofty $10 million bonus, he gifted his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, just over $1 million as a token of appreciation. Fitzgerald told his boss a tsunami hit his bank account.

While being $15 million richer at the end of this week would obviously be a nice payday, the 30-year-old said he is driven by more important aspects than money.

Ranked fifth in the FedEx Cup standings, McIlroy has accumulated $48,719,760 in PGA Tour earnings during his career and this year has earned $7,785,286, second on the PGA Tour.

“I guess at this point in my career, it’s not my most motivating factor or driving factor … If I were to end my career and maybe sacrifice some commercial opportunities to say that I’d have won a few more tournaments, I’d probably make that sacrifice because that would give me more satisfaction than money that’s in the bank or an investment portfolio that I’m never going to see or never going to use,” McIlroy said.

But there was a time when money rocked his world.

When he first began playing as a pro, he had a string of successes that greatly impacted his bank account and lifestyle.

In 2007, an 18-year-old McIlroy played in the British Masters and placed T-42 and won £15,128. Two weeks later, he played in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and placed third winning £211,322.

“I didn’t really know about taxes… but I went, and then I actually played in (Open de Madrid) the next week, finished fourth, won another 50 grand or whatever and then I got home, and I went to get money out of the ATM,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “Eighteen years old, I have a debit card, put it in the ATM, and it’s like, ‘Would you like to check your balance?’

“I checked my balance, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ I went straight to the jewelry store and bought myself a watch.”

Now sponsored by Omega, McIlroy wouldn’t reveal which brand of watch he purchased back then but he said it cost $12,000.

McIlroy tees off the first round of the Tour Championship on Thursday alongside Jon Rahm at 1:45 p.m. ET.

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