All athletes and sports people say they do it for the love of the game, and we take them at face value when they say that for the most part. But it sure is nice to make a few bob while you're at it.
Rory McIlroy started out chipping golf balls into a washing machine as a wee fella, and as the years have gone he's turned into an amazing pro golfer. The County Down man has won three of the four major championships and was part of the winning team at the Miracle of Medinah, the unbelievable Ryder Cup comeback of Europe against the USA in 2012.
The Northern Irishman has had a remarkable rise through the ranks to become one of the best in the game, as well as the most recognisable and marketable. And with thanks to the Forbes Celebrity Rich List, which collects information on the earnings of celebrities over the course of a year, we know how much he has been raking in.
A lot, apparently, as the magazine tells us he has earned a neat little €44 million for himself, which is more than the likes of Neymar (€32.5 million), Conor McGregor, Gareth Bale, Usain Bolt (all €30 million), and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (€28 million).
The UFC champion could yet catch up for next year's list after he fights Floyd Mayweather in August, a bout that could earn him potentially more than €100 million.
McIlroy is still far from making the kind of outrageous money that Lionel Messi, LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo -- the richest athletes on the list -- are on, but he has advantage in the sense that he is still at an earlier point in his career compared to those three, and the fact that he can keep playing well into his forties and fifties should he choose to.
Last year Rory McIlroy's earnings included pocketing around €10 million from winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta to win the FedEx, as well as signing a mega deal worth €88 million with golf brand Taylor-Made to use their balls, clubs and bags for the next 10 years.
[Image via Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile]