Rory McIlroy has plenty of money, but he doesn't have a FedEx Cup title to his name. So, when asked Wednesday about the hole that could be filled by the season-long points race this week at the Tour Championship, McIlroy said the trophy was worth more than another $10 million.
“Luckily, that amount of money doesn't sort of mean much to me anymore,” McIlroy said Wednesday in Atlanta.
“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 $10 million this week, but that's not what excites me. It excites me to play well and to try and win.”
That actually could be an asset for McIlroy, considering that, to most of the other 29 players in the field, an eight-figure payday is a life-changing sum of money. For McIlroy, who signed a nine-figure endorsement deal with Nike at the end of 2012 and earned some $28 million on the PGA Tour since 2007, a chance at $10 million doesn't cause quite the same lump in the throat.
But don't mistake McIlroy, he wasn't trying to be tone deaf. He's just confronting reality. He said he remains grounded and grateful that he can play for the kind of purses he and his peers see worldwide.
“We're playing for over a million dollars (for first place) every week," he added. "We're in such a fortunate position and I think everyone on Tour realizes 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.”
This week is a chance to round out a season where McIlroy -- who termed his year both "interesting" and "disappointing" -- enjoyed two wins in May, then spent a month-and-a-half on the sideline after an injury sustained July 4 while playing soccer.
Whatever happens this week at East Lake, McIlroy will have one clear takeaway from the year: "“Don’t play football in the middle of the season."