124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

There is no right way for Rory McIlroy to answer a question about winning $10 million

Rory McIlroy.jpg

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September 24, 2015

Rory McIlroy caused a small ripple on Wednesday when he said winning the FedEx Cup bonus wouldn't "mean much to me," which risks coming across as the most woefully out-of-touch line this side of a Kardashian.

First, here's the full quote.:

"Luckily, that amount of money doesn't sort of mean much to me anymore," McIlroy said on the eve of the Tour Championship. "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. And the FedExCup is ... one of the only things that I haven't put on my [resume] and that would be more exciting to do that rather than walk away with a check."

And here was some of the indignant reaction:

More so than for McIlroy, this is a damning statement for the FedEx Cup, which was built around the premise that the chance to win $10 million would unnerve players in ways that even a major championship couldn't. That's maybe true for the likes of Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, and Bill Haas -- three players whose FedEx Cup wins denote the biggest wins of their careers.

But when it comes to someone like McIlroy, who has won four major titles and more than $28 million on the PGA Tour alone, we've already reached a point where the big payout isn't enough to quicken his pulse.

So yes, McIlroy sounds just a little jaded when he says the $10 million is essentially a small drop in a very large bucket for him. But think about how it'd sound if he said the opposite.

McIlroy reportedly receives $1.65 million a month just from his Nike endorsement. His house in Florida looks like this. For him to even say that winning $10 million would "be awesome" would sound like someone who doesn't appreciate when he has enough.

In other words, there is no right way for a player like McIlroy to answer a question about winning $10 million. This might qualify as the ultimate in first-world problems. But if I were him, I'd have pretended I didn't hear the question.