The Open Championship was last held in Northern Ireland in 1951 and the champion earned 300£ (or roughly $11,000 today). Max Faulkner surely cherished clutching the Claret Jug as he stood on the 18th green at Royal Portrush and the winner’s check was a welcome sight as well. However, when compared to the $1.8 million Jordan Spieth collected for winning last summer at Royal Birkdale, the paltry pay Faulkner received reflects the immense growth professional golf has enjoyed during the last 66 years.
I made a personal Facebook post about my thoughts on the US Open which received a number of thoughtful comments. Bottom line, the US Open at Chambers Bay, which was positioned as a US Open on a links course, certainly has formed any number of opinions on a variety of related topics. On one hand that is good. On the other,
Nike has announced a huge sponsorship deal which will make Rory McIlroy one of the highest paid sports stars in the world. The deal is reported to be worth around $100m – $125m over a five year period, which could earn the Northern Irish golfer around $50,000 per day!
Tiger Woods has been Nike’s main standard bearer for the past 15 years, however the new world number one will now be paid even more than Woods. Rory is quoted as saying “I chose Nike for a number of reasons. They are committed to being the best, as am I. Signing with Nike is another step towards living out my dream.”
What a great event and wonderful to see a new era evolve in competitive golf with a friendly, attractive personality. My brother as Captain of the 2007 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team at Royal County Down Golf Club had the privelege of working with him and has consistently said that Rory was both mature for his years and a extremely pleasant young man…the camera does not always allow the “nice” to show through on television, but in this instance it did. Congratulations Rory!
World number 9, Rory McIlroy, has decided after just one year on the US Tour to return to Europe stating “If you’re not playing well in the United States then it can be lonely, but over here you have your mates.”
It’s a massive coup for the European Tour to have arguably the hottest young prospect in world golf back playing in his home continent; it will provide yet another huge boost for a tour which has had huge success this season with the Ryder Cup victory, Graeme MacDowell and Martin Kaymer both winning their first Majors, and Lee Westwood finally making it to world number one.