Golf fans don't care about cash: McIlroy

Golf superstar Rory McIlroy says broadcasting the $US15 million ($A22 million) payday for the FedEx Cup winner "probably isn't the best way" to relate to fans.

22-Aug-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Rory McIlroy is concerned that overpublicising the US PGA Tour's $US15 million ($A22 million) FedEx Cup payday could be distancing golf's superstars from everyday fans.

McIlroy is one of 30 players at this week's Tour Championship who are vying for the lion's share of a $US60 million bonus pool.

From that pool, $US15 million is given to the FedEx Cup winner and $US5 million for second place, while 30th place is guaranteed $US395,000.

The Tour Championship is the finale of the PGA Tour's playoffs series and much fanfare has been made of the winner's bonus being bumped up $US5 million from last year.

But McIlroy, who won the 2016 FedEx title when it awarded a $US10 million prize, admits promoting those large sums can come across as 'rich players getting richer'.

"Yeah, it's definitely a thought that came into my head," McIlroy said on Wednesday at host East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

"The money is nice ... but I don't think it needs to be front and centre. I don't think that's what the fans care about."

Many believe golf's biggest lure is it can be played by all ages and abilities, unlike popular but high-impact American sports such as football or basketball.

"How can we make ourselves more relatable to the fans? Having $15 million (publicised) probably isn't the best way," four-time major winner McIlroy said.

The PGA Tour revamped their schedule this year to create "a season of championships."

They moved their flagship event, the Players Championship, to March while the PGA of America agreed to move their US PGA Championship to May.

It created a thrilling five-month period where the Players, the Masters, the PGA, the US Open and the British Open were spaced out evenly.

It also coincided with the huge money increase, but McIlroy believes that won't help the Cup's prestige.

"Who knows what the winner (receives) at the Masters? I don't know, because that's not what it's about," McIlroy said.

"It should be about the prestige of winning an event you'll be remembered for."

The former world No.1 also suggested the PGA Tour scrap their revitalised format for the Tour Championship.

The FedEx points leader (Justin Thomas) now takes a two-stroke lead into the start of the Tour Championship, teeing off Thursday with a 10-under-par score.

The next four players on the points list will start at eight-under through five-under, respectively, while Nos 6-10 will start at four-under.

The total will regress by one stroke every five players until those ranked 26th through 30th start at even par.

From there, the winner claims the Tour Championship and the FedEx title.

"If the Cup really wants to have this legacy, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?"


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