World number one golfer Rory McIlroy is one of only two sportsmen to make the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List that tracks the thousand (1000) wealthiest people in the UK with an estimated fortune of €192 million (£170 million), an increase of €36 million (£32 million) on 2019. Formula 1 driver and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton leads the way in sport with a personal fortune of €253 million (£224 million).
The Northern Ireland golfer jumps from 864th place in the standings last year to just outside the top 700 in the current rankings. The 31-year-old Holywood native won three times on the PGA Tour last season, The Player's Championship, the Canadian Open and the Tour Championship to top the FedEx Cup standings. He also won the WGC HSBC Champions tournament last November.
McIlroy claimed €27.5 million in prize money alone - he signed a €92 million deal with Taylor Made in 2017, having previously agreed a 10-year, €184 million contract with Nike - following an outstanding season that saw him finish in the top 10 in 19 tournaments and reclaim the world number one ranking for the first time since 2015.
Sport dominates the Young Rich List of those aged 30 or under, claiming 18 of the 50 places, with only one, boxer Anthony Joshua not making his money from football. Joshua's €65.5 million (£58 million) rise in his wealth - it now stands at €121 million (£107 million) - is the biggest of any sports star in the past year.
Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale tops the table with earnings of €129 million (£114 million) while five Manchester United players feature, Paul Pogba, David De Gea, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo. Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk also make the Top 30.
McIlroy, meanwhile, announced his intention to play in the first three tournaments when the PGA Tour resumes next month but first will take part in a televised €2.8 million Skins match at Seminole Golf Club in Florida on Sunday. The Co Down golfer will partner Dustin Johnson against Ricky Fowler and Matthew Wolff.
The event will be broadcast by the PGA Tour, NBC Sports and Sky Sports PGA Tour, NBC Sports and Sky Sports. All proceeds will go towards Covid-19 relief efforts, with McIlroy and Johnson playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler and Wolff playing for the CDC Foundation.
The first six holes will be worth €46,000 each, 7-16 will be worth €93,000, the 17th hole will be worth €185,000, and the final hole will be worth a €463,000 skin. Each team will also begin with €463,000.
McIlroy said: “I hope we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness.”
He is looking forward to getting back out on tour, albeit that the three tournaments in which he is due to tee it up will be played with spectators in a season in which three of the four Majors have been rescheduled and the British Open cancelled.
The Tour’s schedule restarts with the Charles Schwab Challenge (June 11-14th in Fort Worth, Texas) followed by the RBC Heritage (June 18th-21st in Hilton Head, South Carolina) and the Travelers Championship (June 25-28th in Cromwell, Connecticut).
McIlroy said: “Right now, I’m planning to play the first three events. I miss the competition. I miss the buzz of getting into contention and playing in those last few groups on a Sunday and really feeling that.
“I also miss the locker room. I miss people. I miss being around people. I miss the . . . banter that goes on . . . and the camaraderie that people don’t see.”
The four-time Major winner said he was confident that play could resume safely next month. “Obviously we’re going to have to take as many precautions as possible to be able to put Tour events on again. But the PGA Tour has got a robust plan in place, and if they can execute it the right way, I see no reason why we can’t start on June 11th.”
Meanwhile officials have confirmed that players and caddies hoping to travel from overseas for the restart of the PGA Tour season will face 14 days in quarantine.
Ten richest young sports stars aged 30 or under in the UK
1. Gareth Bale (soccer) €129 million (£114 million)
2. Anthony Joshua (boxing) €121 million (£107 million)
3. Paul Pogba (soccer) €56 million (£50 million)
4= Kevin de Bruyne (soccer) €38 million (£34 million)
4= David de Gea (soccer) €38 million (£34 million)
6. Raheem Sterling (soccer) €32 million (£28 million)
7. N'Golo Kante (soccer) €28 million (£25 million)
8. Harry Kane (soccer) €27 million (£24 million)
9. Daniel Sturridge (soccer) €25 million (£22 million)
10. Jordan Henderson (soccer) €24 million (£21 million)