Rory McIlroy has revealed that he gave his long-serving caddie, J P Fitzgerald, a $1.05 million bonus from his FedEx Cup winnings and has now set his sights on securing another whopping payday for the pair in the Race to Dubai.
”I think his words were, ‘a tsunami just hit my bank account, so thank you very much’,” revealed McIlroy of how he was informed by Fitzgerald of the cash windfall that was generously given to him by the 27-year-old after his spectacular finish to the PGA Tour season last month.
For winning the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, McIlroy earned $1.53 million alone. He also earned a $10 million bonus for pipping Dustin Johnson at the death in the battle for the FedEx Cup. While $1 million of that is deferred into a retirement account, the rest is McIlroy’s to spend as he wants.
Typically, he didn’t forget about his trusty caddie, the pair having been together since 1998, with McIlroy having loyally stuck by his man despite the occasional criticism that has been aimed at Fitzgerald over questionable clubbing.
Speaking on the eve of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, McIlroy said he’d paid Fitzgerald 10 per cent from the FedEx Cup $9 million and additional 10 per cent from the Tour Championship earnings. “So the total was $1.05 million,” said the four-time major winner. “I think he was quite happy.”
With McIlroy also having triumphed in the Deutsche Bank Championship during the FedEx Cup Play-Offs and it earning him $1.53 million, Fitzgerald’s total earnings for September amounted to a $1,206 million. To put that into perspective, he’d have finished in the top 30 in the Race to Dubai and claimed 89th spot on the PGA Tour money list. “He deserved it,” added McIlroy. “He’s a big part of what we do. He was with me when I was No 210 in the world and when I was No 1.”
Meanwhile, McIlroy believes he needs at least one win from his next three events to become only the second man after Henrik Stenson to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season. Open champion Stenson achieved the feat in 2013 and McIlroy can follow in the Swede’s footsteps. The world No 3 is looking to win the Race to Dubai for the third year in succession and fourth time in the last five years, but is more than a million points behind Masters champion Danny Willett, who has a lead of more than 400,000 points over Stenson. “It would be great to get the double,” admitted McIlroy. “I’ve got three tournaments left to try to do that. I’ve got a lot of ground to make up as well. Danny has had a great season, so has Henrik, so I know what I need to do in the last three weeks.
“I probably need at least one win, hopefully two, and hopefully those boys not to play as good as they have been. I know I’ve got a lot to do but hopefully I can play well enough and at least give myself a chance.”