Money Matters

Rory McIlroy can achieve this rare PGA Tour money milestone with a win at Memorial


Andrew Redington

There are several reasons why Rory McIlroy has incentive to win on Sunday at the Memorial Tournament, the Northern Irishman coming into the final round sharing the lead at six under along with David Lipsky and Si Woo Kim. For starters, a win would be the 24th of his PGA Tour career, tying him with Gary Player and Dustin Johnson on the all-time victory list in 26th place. It would also be his first in Jack Nicklaus’ event at Muirfield Village in Ohio, McIlroy having developed a personal relationship with the Golden Bear. And with the U.S. Open coming, momentum heading into a major wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Yet there’s another motivation for the 34-year-old Northern Irishman to claim the $3.6 million first-place prize money payout in this latest PGA Tour designated event: It would lift him past the $75 million in career PGA Tour earnings, making him just the third player to earn that much.

McIlroy started 2023 with $68,064,549 (221 starts, 23 wins) but has crept up to $72,114,057, passing Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk in all-time earnings. By winning on Sunday, McIlroy would jump to $75,714,057, which would allow him to jump Johnson ($74,982,819) to the No. 3 spot.

The two golfers still ahead of McIlroy on the all-time list are obviously and still a little far away for McIlroy to catch in the short term. No. 2 is Phil Mickelson at $96,572,310. (Maybe we should expect Lefty to issue another random dagger tweet to McIlroy like the one he delivered on Friday when he said no LIV team would take him because of his “bs”.)

McIlroy's potential retort to Lefty would be that that he was able to hit $75 million in 230 starts while Mickelson did it in his 503rd, at the 2014 PGA Championship, where he finished second ironically to McIlroy at Valhalla.

And No. 1, of course, is Tiger Woods, who is currently at $120,954,766. Woods passed $75M with his win at the 2007 BMW Championship, which was his 229th career tour start and his 60th career win. If McIrloy were to win on Sunday, he would still be $45 million behind Tiger in all-time earnings. Just how much is that in context? Well, McIlroy would have to win 12½ more designated events at the $3.6 million first-place payday to catch him.