The Master’s signify the beginning of the PGA tour each year. And while each golfer is vying for the title, for one there is more at stake than just getting that green jacket and another win.
That golfer is Northern Ireland native Rory McIlroy and he’s going for a career first and feat not many achieve during their time on the professional course. He’s had fun with One Direction band member Niall Horan in the Par 3 Contest so far leading up to the tournament.
So as the young Irishman embarks on another season, here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Is the World’s Number 1 Golfer
As of April 5, 2015, McIlroy was named the World Number One golfer, according to the Official World Golf Ranking. The system was started in 1986 and is endorsed by the four major championships and six major professional tours.
A golfer’s World Ranking is determined by dividing their points total by the number of events they have played, which gives their average. Players are then ranked; a higher average equals a higher rank.
The main point events include: the PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour (not a charter member of the Federation), PGA Tour of Australasia, Japan Golf Tour and Sunshine Tour. Points are also awarded for high finishes on other tours such as the Web.com Tour, Challenge Tour, PGA Tour Canada, Korean Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, Asian Development Tour and PGA Tour China.
With the classification, the 5-foot-9 golfer joins the 17 golfers who have previously risen to the top of the rankings including Tiger Woods, who has spent the most consecutive weeks (281) and most total weeks (683) in that position. And just three golfers have spent an entire calendar year atop the rankings: Nick Faldo (1993), Greg Norman (1996), and Woods (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).
2. He’s Aiming For a Career Grand Slam
With the Master’s taking place in Augusta, Georgia, McIlroy is in pursuit of becoming golf’s sixth winner of the career Grand Slam.
The career Grand Slam includes winning the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship.
The Master’s is the only one of the four McIlroy has yet to win. So he would not only be slipping on the green jacket that signifies a victory in Augusta, but also clenching his first career Grand Slam and his 17th professional win.
And while McIlroy’s pursuit of the title was the focus of the media, the attention has now shifted to Tiger Woods, after he announced he would be playing in the tournament – something McIlroy said doesn’t bother him.
Yeah, I don’t feel any less or any more attention because he’s here. It’s great that he’s here. Does it give people something else to talk about? Yes. But I’m not necessarily listening to anything that anyone is saying, so it doesn’t really make a difference to me.
McIlroy tees off with Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore at 10:41 a.m. on Thursday, April 9, and Woods tees off with Jimmy Walker and Jamie Donaldson at 1:48 p.m.
3.He Has a Net Worth of $65 Million
Since his professional career took off in 2007, McIlroy has yet to shy away from the headlines. Like most things in life, the more successful he is, the more attention he receives. And, of course, with success, media and fan attention, McIlroy’s pay continues to increase.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, McIlroy has a net worth of $65 million and counting.
The 25-year-old Northern Ireland native has earned just under $50 million with game payouts. Oh, and let’s not forget his $250 million dollar Nike deal that he signed in 2012, which bypassed Woods’ former endorsement deal.
4. He Broke Off His Engagement to Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki is a tennis star that broke onto the scene in 2005. She is also the ex-fiancee of McIlroy.
Although McIlroy had a girlfriend at the time, he showed interest in her and the two began dating in 2011 after meeting after one of Wozniacki’s matches. After three years of dating, McIlroy popped the question on New Year’s Eve 2014 in Australia.
But just a few months later, the golfer broke it off during the summer, just days after sending out wedding invitations.
McIlroy made a statement prior to the BMW PGA Championship – you can watch his press conference here.
It is quite a difficult time for Caroline and myself, and the statement really said it all this morning. It was mutual and we both thought it was the best for us, the best for both of us. Time to move on, and I’ve said all that I need to say.
While the breakup was upsetting, it did wonders for both their playing careers. McIlroy won the British Open and PGA Championship after the split. And Wozniacki won the Istanbul Cup and was en route to claiming her first career Grand Slam until she fell short to Serena Williams.
Since the split, McIlroy has been tied to model Nadia Forde after the two were “spotted in the trendy House bar” on Dublin’s Leeson Street in July, according to The Irish Mail on Sunday newspaper. And recently he’s been said to be dating Erica Stoll.
And Wozniacki has moved on to. Just kidding, we don’t have confirmation yet, but she was seen sitting next to Texans’ JJ Watt at the NCAA National Championship game between Wisconsin and Duke. Again, no relationship has been confirmed with the two.
5. His New Girlfriend Is Erica Stoll
Champions Celebration…. At least Bob wore bright pants this year! pic.twitter.com/VN48RPUTT7
— Erica Stoll (@EricaGStoll) October 25, 2013
According to The Sunday Independent, McIlroy is dating PGA employee Erica Stoll.
Stoll, 27, came onto the scene when she famously came to McIlroy’s rescue at the Ryder Cup in October 2012 when she noticed he was not on site for the final day of the competition. The golfer narrowly avoided missing disqualification after mixing up his tee time and was given a police escort to the course after Stoll tracked him down.
And now the duo is said to be quietly dating:
Rory and Erica obviously have been linked in the headlines for all the right reasons already but they seem to have hit it off even more since. It’s been kept quiet but they have stayed in contact and they meet up when he is in America.
The fact that she has a big interest in golf is an important factor – and it’s not just a case that she has sparked an interest in the game since meeting Rory. In fact she is every bit as obsessed with golf as him.